Belfast Telegraph

State papers: 'Disquieting' moves from Iran on Brian Keenan case

Former Beirut hostage Brian Keenan
Former Beirut hostage Brian Keenan

By Ralph Riegel

Senior Irish officials agreed in secret state documents that it was "disquieting" for Iran to suggest deepening diplomatic ties between Tehran and Dublin could be linked to Iranian assistance in freeing Irish hostage Brian Keenan in the Lebanon.

In a letter dated December 14, 1988, Tanaiste Brian Lenihan expressed his thanks to Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes for a confidential briefing on a conversation he had with the Iranian Ambassador.

Mr Dukes revealed the diplomat believed "there should be an Irish Ambassador in Tehran rather than a Charge d'Affairs".

The diplomat later suggested this could "be helpful in the Keenan case". Mr Dukes "reacted rather sharply to this".

"I told him that I could not accept that in any civilised country the fate of an innocent, uninvolved person who was taken hostage should be the subject of bargaining between Governments which intend to be friendly."

Mr Lenihan agreed that the conversation was "disquieting".

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