Iran suggests ex-official was kidnapped

A former Iranian official who went missing in Turkey
may have been kidnapped by Western agents, Iran said. The chief of Iranian
police made the announcement Tuesday, almost a month after retired Gen.
Ali Reza Asgari, a former deputy defense minister, disappeared after checking into an Istanbul hotel. Asgari is
said to have been active in Iran’s nuclear program, which would make him of enormous value to U.S., Israeli or other intelligence agencies.
Israeli media have speculated that Asgari, who is believed to have served as
a military adviser in southern Lebanon when Israeli airman Ron Arad
disappeared into captivity there, was abducted by the Mossad. But there is also
the possibility that he defected. Menashe Amir, an Israeli analyst of
Iranian affairs, told Army Radio that he had information indicating that Asgari’s family left Iran before his disappearance, which would
bolster the defection theory.

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