TEHRAN, Iran – A former Iranian deputy defense minister who disappeared from Turkey last month is not cooperating with Western intelligence agencies and his whereabouts remain a mystery, a U.S. official told FOX News Thursday.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Ali Rez Asgari, who is credited with founding the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, was fully cooperating with and divulging information to U.S. and other intelligence services.
However, a senior U.S. official flatly denied the report.
U.S. intelligence agencies remain extremely interested in Asgari's case, the official said, but they do not know his current whereabouts.
The official did not rule out the possibility that Asgari, who once commanded Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and served as the country's deputy defense minister, was conducting negotiations with an intelligence organization, but denied that there was any type of cooperation with the U.S.
Iran has publicly said that Asgari was probably kidnapped by agents working for Western intelligence agencies.
But the Post quoted an Iranian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity as saying that Asgari was most likely offered money by Israel to leave Iran. The Post also quoted a U.S. official who suggested that Asgari's disappearance was voluntary and that it was orchestrated by the Israelis.
The London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Wednesday that Asgari was seeking asylum in the United States.
The retired general never arrived at a hotel in Istanbul last month where he was expected and Iran has asked Interpol for help in his disappearance.
FOX News' Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.