LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is taking seriously allegations that a British-Iranian citizen who went missing in Dubai in June may have been kidnapped by “elements in Iran”, a government source in London said on Saturday.
Abbas Yazdi was reported missing on June 25 and his wife Atena has told Dubai-based news website 7Days that she fears he may have been kidnapped by Iranian intelligence officers.
“We believe that allegations that elements in Iran might be responsible for Mr Yazdi’s disappearance are plausible, and we are taking them very seriously,” the source told Reuters.
The Foreign Office said it was in contact with the authorities in Dubai and in Iran about the case and was providing consular assistance to Yazdi’s family.
“We have asked the Iranians for any information they have about Mr Yazdi’s whereabouts,” a spokeswoman said.
“We are very concerned about Mr Yazdi’s welfare.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague raised Yazdi’s disappearance with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi during a telephone conversation on July 31.
Britain is among Western nations at odds with Iran over its nuclear program and other issues. It shut its embassy in Tehran after what it called “an attack by government-sponsored militias” on the mission in November 2011. Iran’s embassy in London was also closed.
The 7Days website cited Yazdi’s wife as saying the 44-year-old trader and investor was a close childhood friend of the son of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Atena Yazdi was quoted as saying that her husband had been detained in Iran in 1993 and held in solitary confinement by the intelligence service for six months. He had later travelled to London and obtained British citizenship, she said.
The couple had moved to Dubai 10 years ago, 7Days said.
The Foreign Office spokeswoman declined to comment on the details of the report or to release any details about Yazdi’s background.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Louise Ireland