News / Middle East

Iran Reaches Out to Libya's Rebels

A rebel fighter steps over a calendar with Moammar Gadhafi's picture at a checkpoint in Tripoli, Libya, July 30, 2011
A rebel fighter steps over a calendar with Moammar Gadhafi's picture at a checkpoint in Tripoli, Libya, July 30, 2011

Iran is making overtures to Libya's rebels, announcing its first formal contact with Libya's opposition Transitional National Council (TNC).

According to a foreign ministry statement Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi discussed bilateral relations and "issues of mutual interest" with TNC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

The statement says Jalil also called for the promotion of ties between Tehran and Tripoli when the two spoke by phone on Monday.

The statement adds that Jalil promised action concerning the 1978 disappearance of an Iranian-born imam in Libya.

Relations between Shiite majority Iran and Moammar Gadhafi's regime were strained by the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr.

The Lebanese Shi'ite spiritual leader disappeared shortly before he was due to meet with officials in Libyan leader Gadhafi's government.  

Lebanese Shi'ites generally have blamed Gadhafi for his disappearance.

Iran has maintained a dual stance on the Libyan conflict. It has condemned Gadhafi in his fight against rebels while also criticizing NATO for intervening on the side of the rebels.

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

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