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Monday, March 05, 2007

Iran: Missing General Case Strains Ties with Turkey

Tehran, Iran (AKI) - Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki has asked Turkey to shed light on the disappearance in Istanbul last week of a retired Iranian general and former deputy-defence minister. General Ali Reza Asghari, 63, a former senior officer in Iran's Pasdaran, or Revolutionary Guard, and deputy defence minister for eight years until 2005, disappeared in the Turkish city after arriving there on a flight from Damascus. "We are awaiting clarity and an explanation from the Ankara government who we hold responsible for the ex-deputy minister's safety," Mottaki said on Monday.

Asghari was for several years the head of Iran's missile programme, and some Iranian media reports have alleged that he may have been abducted by US agents.

According to these reports Asghari's name appeared on a CIA 'hit list' of 20 people involved in Iran's nuclear programme.
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