Abducted Iranian diplomat in full health: Deputy FM

A Yemeni soldier stands guard in front of the Iranian Embassy in Sana’a. (File photo)

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the Iranian diplomat abducted in Yemen last year is “in full health.”

“(Nour Ahmad) Nikbakht is in full health and we hope he would be freed as soon as possible,” Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday.

He also made a reference to concerted efforts aimed at securing the abducted Iranian diplomat’s release, saying that during the latest negotiations over the release of Nikbakht it was announced that “we are closer to his release.”

Earlier this year, Yemeni charge d’affaires to Tehran, Abdullah Ali al-Seri, said Nikbakht is alive and in good health, emphasizing that the Yemen Interior Ministry and security forces are responsible for investigating the fate of the kidnapped Iranian diplomat.

Nikbakht — the kidnapped administrative staff member at the Iranian Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana’a — was on his way to work from his home in the city’s diplomatic quarter on July 21, 2013 when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him.

On January 18, another staff member at the Iranian Embassy in Sana’a, Abolqasem Asadi, was gunned down by members of a terrorist group outside the Iranian ambassador’s residence in the Yemeni capital.

The assailants first tried to kidnap the Iranian diplomat but when they faced resistance, opened fire on him. The diplomat who was seriously injured passed away in hospital.