Three foreign pedalists taken hostage in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan of Iran were freed, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Sunday, IRNA reported from Tehran.
Kharrazi thanked the information ministry, the interior ministry and the respective department in his ministry for their intensive efforts to help secure safe release of two German nationals David Storm and Oliver Brug and Irish Aidan James Leahy.
The three Europeans were travelling on bicycle to Pakistan from Iran through the drug dealer-infested Sistan-Baluchestan province when they were taken captives by the drug smugglers in the area on December 2.
Kidnappers of 3 foreign hostages claim link to Al-Qaeda
Iran's Information Ministry declared in Tehran on Sunday that the recent claim by kidnappers of the three freed foreign pedalists taken hostage in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan about their link to Al-Qaeda has not yet been proved and is being examined.
A report released by the information ministry public relations department confirming the release of the hostages, said that the three kidnapped foreigners were freed in two stages on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
It added, "According to the hostage takers, the kidnap was monitored and administered overseas. This has been confirmed by the former investigation launched by the information ministry."
"The related officials from the foreign and interior ministries, Sistan-Baluchestan governor-general and members of local security council had jointly launched close cooperation on the case and follow-up through various channels which eventually led to the release of the hostages," added the report.
In a telephone call to Sistan-Baluchestan provincial news center on December 2, the kidnappers had declared that they would release the hostages for a ransom of five million euroes.
According to it, the information ministry has not given in to the kidnappers call for the ransom they had requested. The three foreign pedalists taken hostage consisted of two German nationals David Storm and Oliver Brug and the Irish Aidan James Leahy.
The three Europeans were travelling on a bike tour to Pakistan from Iran through the drug-infested Sistan-Baluchestan province when they were taken captives by the drug smugglers in the area on December 2.
Iran has been a favorite destination for adventurous German bicycle and motorcycle tourists who use the country as a transit route to India and China.
... Payvand News - 12/28/03 ... --