I sense that reader interest in this story is lagging (as with Litvinenko) and yet I feel obliged to keep up with it (as with Litvinenko). So, quick and dirty, the Guardian adds a wrinkle to yesterday’s story about Asgari’s “missing” family turning up at the Turkish embassy in Tehran.
Gen Asgari’s wife, Ziba Ahmadi, emerged with his brother and three of his children to talk to reporters. They said all the general’s close relatives remained in Iran. “We are here in Iran and have not gone anywhere,” said Mrs Ahmadi. “These are enemies’ rumours. My husband did not have any problems with Iran that would have led him to seek asylum. The person who wants to seek asylum first takes his family with him.”
Gen Asgari has two wives. However, his brother, Davoud, said: “His wives, children, father and brother are all in Iran.”
Michael Ledeen isn’t buying the brother’s story: “He had several wives. Two for sure, and maybe three or four. An Iranian I trust said categorically that a wife and some children were flown from Istanbul to Tehran on the personal plane of the deputy defense minister. Maybe another wife disappeared along with him…”
Fars is standing by its story that he was abducted — by a joint U.S.-UK-Israeli superspy conspiracy, no less, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s being tortured “both mentally and physically with the same style US troops torture prisoners in Guantanamou and Abu Ghreib.” Exit question: Given Asgari’s reputation as the “founder” of Hezbollah, on a Sullivan-ometer scale of 1 to 10, how much heart-ache does this dubious news elicit?