Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi rejected the claims that Tehran’s former ambassador to Beirut, Ghadanfar Roknabadi, who went missing during the recent crush in Saudi Arabia is dead, and said there is a growing body of evidence vindicating his abduction in Saudi Arabia.
“Based on documented evidence, eyewitnesses have seen Roknabadi alive and being transferred to a hospital, but after that that has been no reliable news about his situation and whereabouts,” Boroujerdi said on Tuesday according to Fars news agency.
Stressing that the Saudi government should account for the fate of all Iranian nationals missing during the Mina incident, he said given the important position of Roknabadi, his fate should be come under light very soon.
Boroujerdi dismissed claims that Roknabadi has died in Mina incident as “unacceptable”, and said, “Roknabadi’s abduction theory remains a very strong possibility as long as the Saudi government doesn’t return his dead body to Iran.”
In relevant remarks earlier this month, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Expatriates Affairs Hassan Qashqavi said that he couldn’t reject speculations about abduction of Roknabadi in Mina incident, although he declined to confirm Roknabadi’s abduction as well.
“The foreign ministry is very seriously pursuing Roknabadi’s case in Saudi Arabia since he is a well-known person in the region and the foreign ministry is pursuing his situation like other pilgrims who went missing during the Mina incident,” Qashqavi said.
Asked to comment on the speculations that Roknabadi has been kidnapped in Saudi Arabia and then transferred to Israel, he said, “These are just speculations; yet we cannot totally reject or confirm such claims.”
Rokabadi, one of Iran’s outstanding diplomats, served as the country’s ambassador to Lebanon for several years.
Certain Arab media outlets claimed that Roknabadi had traveled to Saudi Arabia through illegal channels. But Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham strongly rejected the Arab media reports, saying that Roknabadi traveled to the country with his personal passport and on a Hajj visa.
A stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season on September 24 killed at least 7,477 people and left thousands wounded.