Skip to main content

Kidnapped Iran diplomat freed in Pakistan

By Mitra Mobasherat, CNN
  • Iranian media claims diplomat rescued by agents in "high-security operation"
  • Heshmatollah Attarzadeh-Niyaki was abducted near home in Peshawar in 2008
  • Diplomat has now been reunited with his family in Iran
  • Pakistan
  • Iran

(CNN) -- An Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped by gunmen in northwest Pakistan more than a year ago has been freed, the Iranian embassy in Islamabad said Tuesday.

At least four gunmen abducted Heshmatollah Attarzadeh-Niyaki -- a commercial attache -- near his home in Peshawar as he headed to work at the Iranian consulate in November 2008.

His bodyguard, a Pakistani police officer, was shot and killed when the two men tried to resist.

The embassy official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, did not offer details on how Attarzadeh-Niyaki was rescued.

The diplomat has been reunited with his family in Iran, the official said.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting said Tuesday that Iranian intelligence agents rescued Attarzadeh-Niyaki in a "high-security operation."

At the time of the kidnapping, Iran's foreign ministry called it an "act of terrorism."

A day before Attarzadeh-Niyaki was abducted, an American aid worker was shot and killed outside the Iranian consulate in Peshawar.

Peshawar is the capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, an area rife with Islamic extremists and the site of recent clashes between security forces and militants.

Journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.