Feature

The world’s longest-held hostages

The week's news at a glance.

Iran

Abu HashemKeyhan

Every time a Western hostage is taken in Iraq, said Abu Hashem in Tehran’s Keyhan, an international protest is lodged. Yet there is no such sympathy for Muslim hostages taken by Christians and Jews. The world has forgotten the five Iranians who were kidnapped in Lebanon decades ago and still have not returned home. Three diplomats and one journalist, along with their driver, were snatched off the streets of Beirut in 1982 by Christian Phalangists “allied with the U.S. and acting on behalf of the illegal Zionist entity called Israel.” Now, 23 years later, freed Palestinian prisoners say they have seen the five languishing in an Israeli jail. Since the Iranians can’t possibly have any intelligence that would be relevant in 2005, they are being held only out of spite. “Given the bestial nature of the Zionists and the Americans,” they are probably being tortured or experimented on “like laboratory guinea pigs.” Of course, the “racist Zionist regime” has consistently denied that the Iranians are there. So the Iranian government must take the issue to the U.N. “The dignity of the nation is at stake.”

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