(MNA) – The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran on Monday to protest the abduction of Iranian pilgrims by U.S.-backed armed groups in Syria.
Iran and the United States do not have diplomatic relations, and the Swiss Embassy in Tehran hosts the U.S. Interests Section in Iran.
The Foreign Ministry director for North American Affairs Reza Zabib said the U.S. is responsible for the safety of the Iranian pilgrims and insisted that it is expected that the U.S. use its influence over the abductors to free Iranian pilgrims immediately and without any preconditions.
47 Iranian pilgrims were kidnapped on their way to Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque in the suburb of Damascus on Sunday. Foreign media outlets claimed on Monday that three of the pilgrims were killed in Damascus on Monday.
Some reports have claimed that insurgent groups are using the pilgrims as human shield.
The abductees had visited Syria without the authorization of the related bodies.