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Iran offers to help in embassy bombing probe

Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi, right, receives Iranian Deputy Justice Minister Abdul Ali Mirkouhai, center, and Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi in Beirut, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: Iran will cooperate with Lebanon in the investigation of a twin suicide bombing that targeted its diplomatic mission in Beirut in November, the country’s deputy justice minister said Thursday.

“As for the attempt to blow up the Iranian Embassy, we agreed to cooperate with the Lebanese side to uncover the details related to this issue,” Abdol-Ali Mirkouhi said after meeting with caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.

“The main goal of this official visit to Lebanon was to meet Lebanese politicians and officials following up on the attempt to blow up the Iranian Embassy in Beirut,” he added.

Two suicide bombers carried out an attack outside Iran’s embassy in Beirut on Nov. 19, killing 30 people, including an Iranian diplomat.

The Iranian official voiced his country’s readiness to help in the probe for the case, if Lebanon were to make the request.

A judicial source told The Daily Star that Lebanon would carry out the investigation without Iranian support, as Lebanon’s penal code does not allow foreigners to take part in the probe. But the source added that Iranian officials would be informed about the progress made and the final outcome of the probe.

“They [Iranians] came to follow up on the progress of investigation and determine whether we need assistance in investigating the attack on the embassy or in combating terrorism,” Charbel told The Daily Star. “We told them we would contact them if we need any assistance.”

Mirkouhi, who headed a judicial delegation, also visited caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, caretaker Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi, acting State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud and Army chief Gen. Jean Kahwagi.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 17, 2014, on page 4.

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