Iran Denies Arresting Bin Laden Deputy al-Zawahri; Favorite Chef: Bin Laden Is In Iran; On Way To Azerbaijan Or Chechnya

Published February 18th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Iran on Sunday denied reports on arresting Ayman al-Zawahri, a close aide to Osama bin Laden of al-Qaeda organization and described these reports as "lies.”  


Iranian foreign spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said in a press release that news published in "hayat-no" newspaper are "untrue.”  


In its issue Sunday, the daily said that al-Zawahri was caught in Iran a few days ago and is currently imprisoned in "Eveen" prison, north of the capital. On February 14, the Iranian government announced that it arrested 150 people suspected to be involved with al-Qaeda or Taliban movement. 


Bin Laden in Iran? 


Meanwhile, a self-described chef for Osama bin Laden, who has been captured by tribesmen in Afghanistan, says that his boss, after leaving Afghanistan for Pakistan, has since entered into Iran, according to a Christian Science Monitor report from last week. 


Saudi Haji Mohamad Akram, suffering from torture by his captors, provided details regarding the battle at Tora Bora.  


"Osama had three offers of escape," he says. "One from Iraq, one from Iran, and another from some mafia types.... We received a lot of Iranian currency, and the commanders distributed it to the soldiers," he said. 


The Saudi cook believes that bin Laden planned to go through Iran and then eventually end up in Azerbaijan or possibly Chechnya.( 

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