Iran: Will Work To Free Last Two Western Hostages
BONN, Germany (AP) _ A visiting Iranian official promised today that his country will exert all its influence to help gain the release of two Germans who are the last Western hostages in Lebanon, the Foreign Ministry said.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Mahmoud Vaezi, met with Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher about the cases of Heinrich Struebig, 50, and Thomas Kemptner, 30. The relief workers were kidnapped in Lebanon in May 1989.
In London, meanwhile, the editor of a television documentary to be broadcast Thursday said former British hostage Jack Mann reports that the leader of his captors was a homosexual who tried unsuccessfully to sexually assault him six times during 2 1/2 years of captivity.
″This 77-year-old war hero fought him off with fisticuffs and lost two teeth in doing it,″ said Paul Woolwich, editor of the Thames Television program.
Mann, who was a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II, was released Sept. 24.
Following the release last week of American journalist Terry Anderson, Struebig and Kemptner are the last Western hostages in Lebanon. They are believed held by the Hamadi family, which has demanded the release of two Hamadi brothers jailed in Germany for terrorism.
The various hostage-holding groups in Lebanon are believed to be under the control of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, or Party of God.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Vaezi assured Genscher that Iran will ″do everything possible to attain the liberation of the two Germans as quickly as possible.″
Iran supports efforts by U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and his envoy, Giandomenico Picco, to free the Germans, the statement said. Perez de Cuellar has been trying to arrange the release of all hostages before he leaves his post at the end of December.
Despite the upbeat tone of Iran’s remarks, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported Tuesday that the Hamadi family opposes an unconditional release of the German hostages because Germany is unwilling to let the imprisoned Hamadi brothers go free.
Mohammad Ali Hamadi is serving a life sentence for the brutal slaying of an American sailor during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner to Beirut.
His brother Abbas Hamadi is serving a 13-year prison term for kidnapping two Germans in Lebanon in an attempt to win his brother’s freedom. Those two Germans were later set free, but then Struebig and Kemptner were abducted the day before Mohammad Ali Hamadi received his life sentence.