Revolutionary Justice Holds Waite: Tehran

Associated Press

Tehran Radio said today Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite was kidnaped in Lebanon by the Revolutionary Justice Organization.

The state-run radio, monitored in Nicosia, said the group seized Waite, claiming he was a U.S. spy.

"It is necessary to note that Terry Waite, accused of espionage, was captured by an armed Lebanese group known as Revolutionary Justice," the radio said without elaboration.

There was no independent confirmation of the report, one of a series concerning Waite since he disappeared Jan. 20 while on a mission to free foreign hostages in Lebanon. No group has claimed to hold Waite.

Revolutionary Justice, which claims to hold Americans Joseph James Cicippio and Edward Austin Tracy and French hostage Jean-Louis Normandin, is believed made up of pro-Iranian Shia Muslim extremists. It has threatened to kill Normandin.

Accused Last Month

Revolutionary Justice last month accused Waite of espionage and charged he had been used to pinpoint suspected terrorist hide-outs for an American military attack on Lebanon. The group did not say it was holding Waite.

It was not clear whether the Tehran Radio report was merely interpreting that statement to indicate Revolutionary Justice holds Waite or if the Iranians were disclosing new information. There also has been a series of unconfirmed reports that Waite is being held in Iran's embassy in Beirut. Iran has denied the reports.

Waite was believed headed for a meeting with members of another Shia faction, Islamic Jihad, when he disappeared. He had been negotiating with Jihad to free two Americans, Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press and Thomas Sutherland, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut.

Druze militia leader Walid Jumblatt has claimed that Waite, 47, is held by the Iranian-backed Shia Hezbollah, or Party of God, in Lebanon.

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