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Family of Former Iranian Official Denies He Defected


The family of a former Iranian defense official has denied that he defected to the West.

Speaking to state media in Tehran, Elham Asghari, the daughter of Ali Reza Asghari accused Israel and the United States of abducting her father.

Asghari's wife Ziba Ahmadi said her husband had an olive oil business in Syria, and vanished in December while on a trip to Turkey.

Before retiring from the government, Asghari was a deputy defense minister and a commander in the elite Revolutionary Guards.

Last week, an Arab newspaper, Al Sharq al Awsat, reported that Asghari is currently in northern Europe, being debriefed by American intelligence, before flying to the U.S.

Western reports suggested that Asghari defected.

An American newspaper, The Washington Post, citing a U.S. official, said Asghari is providing information on Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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