Hezbollah seeking release of Iranians in prisoner exchange

July 3, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN - Hezbollah is negotiating with Israel for the release of four Iranian nationals held by the Zionist regime for 26 years under a deal reached by the two sides on Sunday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday.

The issue of the detained Iranian nationals -- three diplomats and a journalist -- is “on the agenda of negotiations because we believe they were kidnapped by Lebanese forces (the mercenary Phalangists loyal to Israel) and were handed over to Israel in 1982,” Nasrallah said in comments aired on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV on Wednesday.
The four Iranian nationals, charge d’affaires Mohsen Musavi, military attaché of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ahmad Motevasellian, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam, a diplomat from the embassy, and Kazem Akhavan, a reporter and photographer from the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), were captured by the Zionist regime while traveling to southern Lebanon in 1982 and then transferred to a prison in occupied Palestine.
The Zionist regime agreed on Sunday to free a Lebanese soldier in exchange for the bodies of two Israelis killed by Hezbollah.
The Israeli cabinet voted 22-3 to approve the German-mediated deal for the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, captured by Hezbollah in a July 2006 cross-border raid that sparked a month-long war.
Israel will also receive the remaining body parts of its soldiers from the Lebanon war and a Hezbollah report about Ron Arad, a missing Israeli airman whose plane crashed in Lebanon in 1986.
The Zionist regime also agreed to release four other Lebanese prisoners, dozens of bodies, and an undisclosed number of Palestinian prisoners.
Nasrallah told Al-Jazeera that Hezbollah is trying to repatriate all Lebanese prisoners as well as the bodies of the soldiers killed by the Zionist regime.
Obtaining the release of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners will be next on the agenda, he added