Death of a cultural attaché: Beirut's Iranian embassy victim remembered
Not much is known about the personal life of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ansari, Iran’s cultural attaché to Lebanon and the victim of twin suicide bombings outside the Iranian Embassy Tuesday, but those acquainted with the religious figure said he was assiduously devoted to his work. “He was a very humble person,” embassy spokesperson Saeid Asadi told The Daily Star. “[He was] always friendly to everyone, and very serious about his work.”
A religious man, Ansari was born in 1959 in the Iranian city of Shiraz, renowned for its illustrious cultural history. He spent his formative years studying at a hawza, a traditional Islamic seminary of higher learning, where he immersed himself in religious texts and trained to become a sheikh.
He eventually earned the Hujjat al-Islam wal Muslimin, a title given to middle-ranking sheikhs. He also completed a master’s degree in management.
Ansari spent the better part of his life working to promote the cultural affairs of his country. From 1992 to 1994 he served as the head of the Culture Ministry’s department in Hormozgan, a southern province adjacent to the Persian Gulf.
He would spend the next 10 years serving as the head of the ministry’s department in the northern province of Gilan. In 2004, he was sent on his first diplomatic stint as the cultural envoy to Sudan, a post he held for five years.
After a three-year term as head of Arab-African countries for the Islamic Relations and Culture Organization, Ansari came to Lebanon with his next international posting in October of this year, a mere month before the embassy bombing claimed his life.
The late diplomat leaves behind a wife and children.