Operation by Iran, Frees Diplomat in Yemen

A diplomat from Iran who was held hostage for over 18 months in Yemen was freed said Iranian media following an intelligence operation.

Tearful relatives and officials greeted Nour Ahmad Nikbakht at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran on Thursday. It still was not clear if Nikbakht had been freed through an armed raid.

One of the deputy foreign ministers of Iran would only say that the diplomat was rescued from terrorist clutches in a number of difficult and complex operations.

Nikbakht is the second hostage who is high profile to be freed in the past week in Yemen. On Monday Abdullah al-Khalidi, a Saudi diplomat was freed after being held by AQAP the al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula since March of 2012.

Nikbakht had been abducted in July of 2013 in Sanaa the capital of Yemen by armed men who stopped the vehicle he was in and forced him into theirs after which they sped away.

On Thursday, he said he had been kidnapped by terrorists and gunmen who were unknown, as he left his home headed toward work. He said he has been unaware of what has taken place in the outside world.

No group announced they had been responsible for the adduction of Nikbakht, but Yemen security and tribal sources told a worldwide press agency he had been held in a remote area by AQAP militants.

On Monday, prior to him being released officials in Iran said the diplomat had been in good health. At one time back in late January, it had been feared that he was beheaded, said the country’s Intelligence Minister after the government of Iran refused conditions the terrorist had set for his release, suggesting negotiations had taken place.

The operation that freed him took place with the fewest casualties possible.

Iran’s deputy Foreign Minister was quoted as saying Iran sent in a special team from the ministry that was able to free Nikbakht.

This past January another diplomat from Iran who was based in Sanaa, was shot and killed after the resisted an attempt at kidnapping.

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