Quoth yesterday’s Times of London: “According to the Iranian sources, the [general’s] escape took several months to arrange. At least 10 close members of his family had to flee the country. Asgari has two sons, a daughter and several grandchildren and it is believed that all, including his daughters-in-law, are now out of Iran. Their final destination is unknown.”

And now today:

The family of Ali Reza Asgari, the Iranian general and former deputy defense minister who disappeared from Turkey last month, snubbed recent newspaper reports claiming he defected to the West and insisted instead that he was kidnapped by foreign agents.

His wife Ziba Asgari, 46, contended Western reports that Asgari was a spy and smuggled his family out of Iran prior to his escape. “We are here. Those are mere rumors being spread by the enemies,” she said.

His 20-year-old daughter Alham told journalists she was certain Israel or the United States kidnapped him, as they are Iran’s main enemies. “My father worked hard for the regime and he had many enemies due to his position,” she was quoted by Fars, the Iranian news agency.

According to the Fars report, Asgari’s wife, two daughters, son and brother arrived at the Turkish embassy in Tehran Monday seeking information on his whereabouts and met with Deputy Ambassador Dorim Ozturk.

Reuters has a similar report, quoting … Iranian state radio. Asgari’s wife is also quoted as saying they lost contact with him on December 7; every report until now has listed February 7 as the date he went missing after arriving in Istanbul from Damascus. There’s a photo of his wife (or a woman claiming to be his wife) at the Ynet link that looks like it was taken recently (today?), but I checked the Yahoo wire and can’t find anything from the Turkish embassy in Tehran.

Some western paper is sure to refute/respond to this later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Update: Gateway Pundit tips us that the Iranian blogger Kamangir has photos of the (alleged) family at the embassy.

Tags: Israel