“Since the Zionist regime occupied Lebanon in 1982, it bears political and legal responsibility for the abduction of [Iranian] diplomats and the Zionist regime and its terrorism-sponsoring supporters are liable for this measure. Unfortunately, the Zionist regime has not been accountable in this case, and this is why the process of revealing facts and various aspects of this incident has been so slow,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, which marked the 39th anniversary of the abduction of the four diplomats.
On July 4, 1982, the year Israel invaded Lebanon, Ahmad Motevasselian, Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam and Kazem Akhavan were kidnapped by a group of gunmen backed by Israel at an inspection post in northern Lebanon.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly announced that there is evidence to prove that the [kidnapped] diplomats were handed over to Israeli forces after the abduction and were subsequently transferred to the Zionist regime’s prisons,” the statement read.
Iran, it added, has gone to great lengths since the abduction, given the humanitarian, legal and political dimensions of the criminal incident, and has put on its agenda the pursuit of the issue through regional and international avenues.
The ministry once again called on the United Nations secretary general as well as international and human rights organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to pay more serious attention to the abduction of its diplomats by Israel.
In a letter to Secretary General Antonio Guterres in July 2020, Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi said Tehran believes the diplomats were handed over to Israeli forces immediately after the abduction in a region controlled by Israel at the time.
“Evidence shows they have been held in Israeli prisons, and are still alive,” the Iranian envoy said.