“Disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr is one of the major issues that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been constantly pursuing in the past years (to find where he is), and will keep it on the agenda until achieving results and discovering the truth,” Khatibzadeh said on Saturday, when asked by reporters about the influential Shiite cleric, the anniversary of whose disappearance has coincided with Ashura this year, the day marking the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) in the Battle of Karbala.
Pointing to various dimensions of Sadr’s character, the spokesperson said, “Imam Musa al-Sadr is one of the most notable founders of currents and most influential figures that did his utmost to ensure Muslim unity and dignity, dialogue among religions, and proximity of faiths. Sadr’s services and endeavors are so extensive that all people in the region enjoy them today, particularly the appreciative people of Lebanon. He was the founder of an intellectual and behavioral school of thought in the Islamic world and the Shiite world whose benefits have continued until today and are becoming clearer every day.”
The Iranian diplomat also attributed the victories, progress and achievements of the anti-Zionism resistance to the presence of Sadr in Lebanon, adding, “Imam Musa al-Sadr is renowned in Lebanon mainly for his role in shaping the main cores of resistance against the Zionist regime’s occupation and in creating unity and peaceful coexistence among followers of religions.”
Highlighting the similarities between the ideologies of Sadr and Imam Khomeini, the Iranian spokesperson said, “Undoubtedly, he (Imam Musa al-Sadr) must be regarded as the reviver of the political life of the oppressed and deprived people and the founder of many activities in Lebanon.”
“He founded a movement one of whose results is Lebanon’s Islamic resistance against Israel, and is shining like a medal of honor for Lebanon,” Khatibzadeh stated.
He further paid tribute to Sadr for siding with major Lebanese clerics and prominent figures in important issues such as empowering the deprived people in Lebanon and supporting the struggle against occupation, colonialism, persecution, discrimination and exploitation.
“Imam Musa al-Sadr played a prominent role in enlightening people and thwarting the plots hatched by the enemies of Lebanon, particularly during the civil war, and created an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians, as Lebanon is today known as a model for such peaceful coexistence in the world,” Khatibzadeh added.
“All of the efforts made by Imam Musa al-Sadr in these fields and his decisive support for the liberation of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque dismayed the opponents of peace, calm, coexistence and independence in Lebanon, so that they sought to eliminate him from the scene. However, Imam Musa al-Sadr belongs not only to Iran and Lebanon today, but to the entire region,” he added.
The spokesperson finally highlighted the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s efforts to work on the case of Sadr disappearance, adding, “We in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are pursuing the case of Imam Musa al-Sadr with all its complexities in cooperation with the Lebanese friends through various means, as there are arrangements and dialogues at the bilateral and international levels to ascertain the fate of him and two companions, and they will go on until achievement of results, God willing.”
Sadr was a highly revered Shiite cleric of Iranian descent, who founded the Lebanese Amal (Hope) Movement in 1974. He went to Lebanon in 1959 to work for the rights of Shiite Muslims in the port city of Tyre, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Beirut.
The prominent Shiite cleric disappeared on August 31, 1978, during an official visit to the Libyan capital Tripoli.
He was accompanied by Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine.
Lebanon still holds former Libyan officials responsible for the disappearance of the trio.
Since Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011, Lebanon and Iran have repeatedly called on the Libyan government to launch an investigation into Sadr’s disappearance.