Abducted Iranian Diplomat in Yemen Released and Returns Home

Thu Mar 5, 2015 14:03:44

Abducted Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped by gunmen in Yemeni capital, Sana'a, in 2013 has returned home after being released on Thursday, IRNA reports.

Nour Ahmad Nikbakht's plane landed in Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Thursday. He was greeted by Iranian officials and his tearful relatives and family members.

Abducted Iranian Diplomat in Yemen Released and Returns Home

Iran says that Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, who has arrived in Tehran, was released following an intensive intelligence operation.
A joint bilateral security and political committee between Iran and Yemen had been established to secure Nikbakht's freedom.

Nour Ahmad Nikbakht was kidnapped on July 21, 2013, on his way to work from his home in the diplomatic quarter of Sana’a, when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him.

Following his arrival in Tehran, Nikbakht met Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, where the recently released diplomat thanked the Islamic Republic officials for their efforts to secure his safe release, PRESS TV reports.

“I was kidnapped by armed terrorists on my way to the embassy from home. I was then held hostage," he said, adding, "“The officials at Foreign Ministry and Intelligence Ministry and other related organizations made great efforts [for my release]. I express my sincere gratitude to all of them.” 

Amir-Abodllahian, for his part, said Iran had set up a "special committee involving all the relevant parties" to work toward Nikbakht's freedom. "The efforts led to a special taskforce established by the Islamic Republic’s Intelligence Ministry."

"Through a series of complex and arduous operations inside a restive region of Yemen Mr. Nikhbakht was freed from the clutches of the terrorists," Amir-Abdollahian added.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi told reporters at a press conference later in the day that Nikbakht’s release was secured without Iran meeting any of the preconditions set by the terrorists.

Alavi said Nikbakht’s freedom comes as “terrorist groups have taken people from various countries hostage, beheaded them, burned them alive and released the footage on the Internet while their respective countries have been unsuccessful in liberating the hostages from the grips of the terrorists.” 

Alavi added that hostage takers must know that the Islamic Republic will never give in to any demands of ransom seekers, adding that the Intelligence Ministry would safeguard the interests of the country and not allow its reputation to be tarnished.

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