London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iman Bin Laden, the daughter of Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, has obtained a “travel permit” from the Saudi embassy in Tehran. A travel permit is similar to a passport, and contains a picture ID, date of birth, and other information. This would facilitate Iman Bin Laden traveling to Saudi Arabia, which is expected to take place within the next few days. Exclusive sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that this trip is set to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday, and that Iman Bin Laden will be traveling to Saudi Arabia, rather than Syria.
According to information gathered by Asharq Al-Awsat, the Saudi embassy in Tehran has presented this travel permit to the pertinent Iranian authorities; however the Iranian celebration of Ashura has prevented the speedy departure of Iman Bin Laden from Tehran.
There has been an acceleration of events following Asharq Al-Awsat’s revelation last Wednesday that Iman Bin Laden had sought refuge in the Saudi embassy in Tehran, with the international media reporting this story, and even Iranian Foreign Minister [Manouchehr Mottaki] acknowledging Iman Bin Laden’s presence. This has caused grave concern for the Bin Laden family, particularly Iman Bin Laden’s mother and siblings, especially with regards to the contradictory statements being issued by Iran. On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mihmanparast said that the Saudi embassy did not provide enough time for Tehran to ascertain whether the individual in question is truly the daughter of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
Mihmanparast said “we cannot do anything before verifying the identity of the person, and so far the Saudi story is just a claim.” In a statement to the official Iranian News Agency [IRNA], Mihmanparast also said that no person matching this description had crossed the border into Iran “so the person (Bin Laden’s daughter) might have crossed illegally.”
The Saudi Arabian issuance of a travel permit to Iman Bin Laden means that her eight and a half years of absence is about to come to an end. Omar Bin Laden told Asharq Al-Awsat that he has vowed to God Almighty to slaughter a hundred sheep [whose meat will be distributed amongst the poor]. He also revealed that the Bin Laden family, under the direction and supervision of his Uncle Bakr Bin Laden, will slaughter a hundred camels [also to be distributed amongst the poor]. Omar Bin Laden also revealed that he would donate part of his fortune to the poor to celebrate the reunion of his family, and the return of his siblings and his father’s wife from Tehran. He described this to Asharq Al-Awsat as “a duty.”
Asharq Al-Awsat revealed that Iman Bin Laden had sought refuge in the Saudi embassy in Tehran after escaping from guards, last Wednesday. In a telephone call with her brother Abdullah, who lives in Saudi Arabia, Iman Bin Laden revealed that she, along with 5 siblings and her father’s wife Umm Hamzah, have been detained by the Iranian authorities since the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. Omar Bin Laden confirmed this to Asharq Al-Awsat and appealed to the Iranian authorities to release his siblings and father’s wife. Omar Bin Laden, 29 years old, is the fourth son of Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and currently resides in Qatar. Omar Bin Laden told Asharq Al-Awsat “we did not know even before four weeks the whereabouts of these brothers and sisters who are Saad who is now 30 years old, Othman who is 25, Fatima who is 22, Hamzah who is 20, Iman who is 17, and Bakr who is 15.” Omar Bin Laden also said that his sister Iman had initially called their brother Abdullah to inform him of the situation, who told her to immediately seek refuge in the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and ever since then the process has been ongoing to facilitate her departure from Iran.