Iranian Defense Minister, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan, announced that Iran is in possession of corroborative evidence proving that its four diplomats abducted in Lebanon in 1982 are still alive and incarcerated in Israel.
Farsnews quoted General Dehqan as saying: "We claim on the basis of proofs that they are alive and captivated by the Zionist regime." He underlined that the Israelis are responsible for the health of the Iranian diplomats, adding that Tehran will also pursue their fate legally and politically.
The four diplomats are the then chargé d'affaires of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut Seyed Mohsen Mousavi, military attaché Ahmad Motevaselian, embassy technician Taghi Rastegar Moghadam and journalist of the Islamic republic news agency Kazzem Akhavan. The Iranians claim that were kidnapped by the Lebanese mercenary army – also known as the Falangists – at gunpoint in Northern Lebanon in 1982 and were later handed over to Israeli army.
According to Farsnews, Israel has released contradictory reports on the issue. It is said that Israel alleged in a statement last year that the diplomats had never been surrendered to Israel. Elsewhere it claimed in response to a request put forward by the Lebanese Hezbollah group that the four are already dead.
In January 2009, the then Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that Iran had received a report from Israel which said the kidnapped Iranian diplomats had not been transferred to Israel and laid the blame on the Lebanese mercenary army affiliated with Israel.