Tehran: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akabr
Salehi has invited the head of the Libyan rebels` National Transitional Council (NTC) to visit Tehran, a foreign ministry statement said Tuesday.
"In a phone conversation (last night) with the NTC head,
Salehi congratulated the victory of the Muslim people of Libya
and stressed (the desire) to deepen bilateral ties," said the
statement, a copy of which was received by AFP.
Following an invitation by the rebel chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, "Salehi invited the NTC head for a visit at an
opportune time," it added.
On Sunday, Salehi said Iran had "discreetly" provided
humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli
on August 21.
Abdel Jalil, for his part, "thanked the Iranian
government for its humanitarian aid and assistance during
tough times," and called for the return of Iran`s ambassador
to Libya, according to a statement today.
The phone conversation marked the first official contact
between Iran and the NTC since Muammar Gaddafi`s capital was
overrun by rebels and he went into hiding.
Iran has still not officially recognised the NTC.
The statement said the Iranian ambassador, who "left
Tripoli after the protest movement of the Libyan people,"
would soon return there.
Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran
has adopted a dual approach -- criticising the Gaddafi regime
for its violent assaults on the rebels while at the same time
condemning NATO`s military intervention.
Relations between Shiite majority Iran and Muammar
Gaddafi`s regime were soured by the disappearance in Libya in
1978 of the Iranian-born Imam Moussa Sadr, who is considered a
spiritual leader of Lebanon`s Shiites.