London, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that it had no updates regarding its investigation into Jalal Sharafi’s disappearance early last month. Kidnapped in front of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli in Baghdad, it is alleged that Sharafi was abducted by US-supported Iraqi Defense Ministry elements. Likewise, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the al Quds Brigade’s investigations have failed to yield any leads pertaining to their members who have disappeared in Iraq over the past few weeks.
According to statements made by an official from the Iranian armed forces, the possibility of the detention of eight members from the IRGC and five elements from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence by US forces was “likely”, as the concerned parties had no evidence of their escape.
Among the officials who cannot be traced is Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chirazi, one of the top officials from al Quds Brigade, who lost contact with Maqar al Nasr [al Nasr headquarters, the interagency board responsible for coordinating polices on Iraq] three weeks ago. Additionally, the military court in Tehran has sentenced a colonel from the Second Directorate [military intelligence] in the Iranian armed forces general command to execution upon his return from Iraq last week. Iranian sources revealed that the colonel was arrested upon arrival and that he had been a frequent visitor to Iraq where he was sent to carry out security assignments. According to the list of accusations made against the Iranian officer, he is guilty of cooperation with US forces and supplying information as to the location of elements from the IRGC and the al Quds Brigade, and the places they frequent, in addition to providing documents, maps and pictures of the Iranian nuclear installations and of the Iranian army, which he delivered to the American military base in Baghdad airport.
Furthermore, the information supplied by the five Iranian officials detained in Irbil last month [US troops confiscated vast amounts of documents and computer data], considered highly classified information has facilitated and enabled US forces to arrest more figures from the IRGC and al Quds Brigade in Iraq.
Asharq Al-Awsat has discovered from a source in the Iranian military that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has informed the families of the five Iranian officials detained by US forces last January that the prisoners were in good health and had not been subjected to any form of torture or pressure in prison. He denied the validity of the reports and statements attributed to the Iranian government that had claimed that Colonel Chizari, a senior official in the al Quds Brigade and his four aides had been severely tortured and said that it was likely that they had been transferred outside of Iraq.
Additionally, the source has also denied the validity of the Iranian government reports which state that former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister, Ali Reza Asghari has been subjected to torture, the source said, “the parties dealing with Asghari’s issue have no updates regarding his situation.” The source considered what an official from the Iranian Defense Ministry had said to the semi-official Fars news agency about Asghari being transferred to a US prison and being tortured is all part of, “the propaganda campaign aimed at primarily undermining Asghari’s escape and consequently discouraging other military personal from following in his footsteps and seeking refuge abroad.”