Entries in Pilgrims (2)


Iran Wants US to Secure Release of Pilgrims Kidnapped in Syria

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran says the lives of its nationals kidnapped while riding a bus near the Syrian capital last weekend are in the hands of the U.S.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the Swiss envoy in Tehran that it will be up to Washington to use its influence to secure the release of the 48 Shiite pilgrims abducted by rebel forces in Syria with no preconditions, according to Iran's state-run media.

It's unclear why the U.S. should be held responsible for the Iranians.  The foreign minister addressed the Swiss envoy, who acts as an intermediary between Washington and Tehran since the two governments haven't had diplomatic ties for decades.

A representative for the Free Syrian Army has alleged that the captured Iranians are actually members of the elite Revolutionary Guard, who were in Syria to help the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

There were also reports that three of the hostages were killed by Syrian military shelling and that the rest of the hostages are in danger if the attacks on opposition forces don't stop.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iran Demands Syrian Rebels Return Abducted Pilgrims

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Tehran is calling on Turkey and Qatar to help secure the release of about four dozen Iranian pilgrims who were abducted in Syria.

Iran hopes that these countries' support of rebel forces, who are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping, will facilitate the pilgrims' safe return.

According to Iran's state-run Press TV, a group of gunmen took over a busload of pilgrims headed from the airport in Damascus to a nearby Shiite shrine.

However, the rebels alleged that the pilgrims were in reality members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard and were sent to help the Syrian military.

Throughout the 17-month conflict in Syria, Iran has been one of the few countries in the region that has openly backed the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Tehran, however, has denied deploying any of its forces in Syria.

Turkey and Qatar support the opposition seeking to overthrowal-Assad. The rebels are mostly made up of citizens from Syria's Sunni majority.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio