Tripoli, 1 September:
The seven Iranian Red Crescent workers kidnapped in Benghazi on 31 July have been granted a phone call to . . .[restrict]their families, Iran’s foreign minister has said.
Ali Akbar Salehi made the announcement to reporters yesterday during a meeting of the international Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran.
The minister said his government had been in frequent contact with authorities in Libya over the case, and expressed his hope that the hostages would be released soon.
The seven were initially arrested by a local Benghazi brigade who suspected them of planning to proselytise Shiism in Libya.
“Members of the brigade holding the Iranians are questioning them to determine whether their activities and intentions aimed to spread the doctrine of Shiite Islam,” an official in touch with the kidnappers was quoted as saying.
He did not name the group but indicated they were Islamic extremists.
On Monday, National Congress Speaker Mohammed Magarief told his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, that the men “are in good health and will be freed soon”. He also expressed his regret over the kidnappings. [/restrict]