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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tehran Asks UN for Help in Freeing Iranian Hostages in Syria

RIA Novosti

05:42 08/08/2012 UN, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran has asked the United Nations to free Iranians, who are kept hostage by armed opposition forces in Syria and Libya.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi wrote that his country would be grateful if certain UN bodies will provide assistance to save the hostages.

“The kind cooperation of the relevant United Nations offices in responding to this request of Government and the families of the hostages will be highly appreciated,” Al Arabiya quoted Salehi as saying.

The Iranian media reported on Sunday that 48 Iranian pilgrims who were traveling on a bus from Damascus International Airport to the Hazrat Zainab shrine on the outskirts of Damascus were abducted by armed insurgents.

“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran calls for the immediate release of its abducted nationals and is of the view that using the hostages as human shields violates the international law and human rights of these innocent civilians,” the minister said.

Salehi pointed out that three of 48 hostages in Syria were already killed and the rest could be killed as well if nothing is done in the nearest future.

This is the third kidnapping of Iranian citizens since the crisis in Syria began in March 2011. Syria insists that the abducted people belong to the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards, while Tehran insists that they are pilgrims.

Salehi also said that seven more Iranians are kept hostage in Libya after they were abducted on July 31.

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