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Albin Szakola

Lebanese businessman
missing in Iran

Nizar Zakka left his Tehran hotel on September 18 to catch a flight to Beirut, but never arrived to the airport.

Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka. (Twitter)

BEIRUT – A Lebanese businessman specializing in information and communications technology (ICT) has gone missing in mysterious circumstances in Iran after attending a conference in the capital Tehran.

 

Nizar Zakka’s NGO, the Arab ICT Organization (IJMA3), issued a statement Tuesday that the Lebanese national had disappeared after attending a conference organized by the Iranian government.

 

“On September 18, 2015, Mr. Zakka left his hotel in a taxicab bound for the airport in Tehran to return to Beirut. He did not board his flight and did not arrive in his home country of Lebanon as planned,” the statement, prepared by Attorney at Law Antoine Abou Dib, said.

 

Zakka—the secretary general and founder of the Arab ICT Organization—had arrived in Iran’s capital three days before to attend the 2nd International Conference & Exhibition on Women in Sustainable Development upon the invitation of the Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs.

 

The Lebanese businessman—who according to his LinkedIn profile resides in Washington DC—is considered a top ICT expert in the Middle East, and heads not only the Arab ICT Organization but also serves as the vice chairman of the World IT Services Alliance (WITSA) as well as the CEO of the Professional Computer Association of Lebanon (PCA).

 

Abou Dib explained that he and the Arab ICT Organization “informed the Lebanese Embassy in Tehran that Mr. Zakka was missing and asked for assistance from the Government of Lebanon in locating Mr. Zakka.”

 

“We have filed several requests with the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon asking assistance in locate him, without success,” he added.

 

“We therefore respectfully ask the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lebanese Embassy in Tehran and the Iranian authorities to assist us in locating Mr. Zakka, and to confirm that he is safe and will soon be permitted to return home.”

 

Meanwhile, the IranWire journalism initiative reported that while attending the Tehran conference, Zakka had participated in roundtable discussions attended by a number of Iranian government officials, including the country’s Industry, Agriculture, Labor, and Social Affairs ministers.

 

Lebanese TV and print outlets have yet to cover the case, with the Lebanon Debate website saying on October 28 that Zakka’s family was in the process of preparing a statement or press conference on his disappearance.

 

Lebanon Debate reported that Zakka’s family had appealed to Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to raise the issue with Iranian officials during his mid-October trip to Iran, but added that they had received “sufficient answers” regarding his disappearance.

 

The outlet also explained Zakka’s lawyer, Majid Dimashq, had chosen not to immediately bring media attention to the case as he pursued his efforts to investigate the Lebanese businessman’s disappearance.

Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka. (Twitter)

We therefore respectfully ask the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lebanese Embassy in Tehran and the Iranian authorities to assist us in locating Mr. Zakka.