US 'offers help for Bin Laden's family in Iran'

Omar bin Laden told Al-Arabiya that Washington "has no objections about receiving them" in the United States.

US 'offers help for Bin Laden's family in Iran'

A son of Osama bin Laden said Sunday on Al-Arabiya television that 20 members of the Al-Qaeda chief's family are stranded in Iran as Tehran is refusing to discuss their fate with Saudi Arabia.

"I think the time has come for my family members to leave Iran but their lack of identification papers and passports made us in need of another third-party country willing to receive them after Iran refused to hand them over to Saudi Arabia," said Omar bin Laden, the fourth son of Laden.

"Othman (his brother held in Tehran) called me by phone four days ago and asked me to find a country to mediate their release and accept to receive them," he added according to excerpts of an interview posted on Al-Arabiya's website.

The Dubai-based Arabic news channel said that there are about 20 members of Osama bin Laden's family living in Iran.

The son said on Sunday he hoped Qatar's diplomacy would help win the release of his family members trapped in Iran.

In an interview with Reuters, Omar bin Laden said he hoped the Gulf Arab state would intervene on behalf of siblings who fled to Iran during the 2001 U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and have since lived there under house arrest.

"We have been dealing with the Qatari government. They have been very helpful and working very much on it. They have given a lot of help to other countries in the world, and we hope they can help us," he said.

"US help"

Omar bin Laden told Al-Arabiya that Washington "has no objections about receiving them" in the United States.

"None of my brothers has been charged on behalf of any party, American or otherwise," he said, adding that the Americans have "offered their help" to get them out of the Islamic republic.

In March, Omar bin Laden called on countries such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates to host the family detained in Iran, which has already released one of his sisters and one of his brothers to Syria.

Several of Osama bin Laden's children with his first wife Najwa fled to Iran in 2001, including Othman, aged about 27, Fatima, about 22, and Hamza, a son of bin Laden and his third wife Khairiyah, along with Khairiyah herself.

His sister Iman, about 17, was released three months ago after she took refuge at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and is now in Syria, he said. The others live in a Tehran compound and cannot leave or make calls without permission, bin Laden said.

"They have done nothing wrong, none of them," he said.

Bin Laden, currently living in Qatar, said he believed his family had a better chance of being released if they planned to go to a country other than Saudi Arabia.

"Iran has a problem with Saudi Arabia. They don't want (the family) to go back home. That's why I am asking for Qatar's help, for Syria's help," he said. "They want to come here, or to Syria, or to any country in the world that would accept them."

Bin Laden has been working with other bodies, including the United Nations, to obtain his family's release, he said.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2010, 14:53

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