|Pursuing Imam Sadr’s case high on Iran-Libya relations: official||
TEHRAN – An official at the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that pursuing the case of Imam Musa al-Sadr, an Iranian-born Shia cleric who vanished without a trace in Libya in 1978, is high on the agenda of relations between Tehran and Tripoli.
Hassan Qashqavi, who is the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, made the remarks during a televised interview broadcast live on Jaam-e-Jam TV network on Sunday night.
In August 1978, al-Sadr departed for Libya with two companions to meet officials of Qaddafi’s government. They were never heard from again, and many believe they met with foul play at the hands of Qaddafi.
In August 2008, Lebanon issued an arrest warrant for Qaddafi and 11 other Libyan officials, charging them with kidnapping al-Sadr. Qaddafi was also indicted for “inciting the abduction” of the senior cleric.
Libya has denied responsibility, claiming that al-Sadr and his companions left Libya for Italy in 1978. However, many believe that al-Sadr is still alive and is being held in a secret jail in Libya.
Hezbollah has also said Libya is first and foremost responsible for al-Sadr’s disappearance.
During the interview, Qashqavi also said that from the outset of the Libyan revolution, Iran stood by the people in this country and provided them with humanitarian assistance and called on Qaddafi’s government to take measures to fulfill public demands and prevent NATO from exploiting the situation, but unfortunately such a thing did not happen.
He added that there were some secret relations between Qaddafi’s government and the West which will come to light in the future.
“Public opinion should ask Gaddafi’s government and its former Western supporters why 120 billion dollars of assets belonging to the Libyan nation, which should have been spent on developing the country’s infrastructures, have been deposited in Western banks,” Qashqavi stated.
NATO presence in region undermines security
Elsewhere in the interview, Qashqavi replied to a question about the fact that Turkey has agreed to host an early warning radar as part of NATO’s missile defense system, which is ostensibly meant to counter an alleged ballistic missile threat from Iran.
He said, “We believe that the presence of extra-regional countries near the borders of our country not only does not improve security in the region but also undermines it.”
“Iran and Turkey are friendly and neighboring countries… and have the capability to maintain their security without foreign intervention. Besides, NATO’s performance in Afghanistan and certain other countries and the killings of many innocent people are indicative of its failure in establishing security.”
Syria able to make country progress
Commenting on the unrest in Syria, Qashqavi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the reforms promised by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is certain that the Syrian government and nation are able to make the country progress through holding effective dialogue and refraining from violence. Meanwhile, we denounce the recent foreign interventionist moves, particularly those by the Zionists and the Americans, which are clearly meant to undermine the axis of resistance.”
One Bahraini, one vote
In reply to a question about the situation in Bahrain, he stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the best way to maintain Bahrain’s national sovereignty is to allow the people to determine their own destiny through “one Bahraini, one vote” policy.
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