Picture of Ron Arad
Picture of Ron Arad

A photo of captured Israel Air Force co-pilot Ron Arad delivered to Israel this week by Hizbullah shows Arad in Iran, according to Middle East expert Dr. Nissim Dana, of the Ariel University Center. Dana based his estimate on the text which appears behind Arad and other elements.

"Putting aside the fact that the text is unclear," Dana said, "my impression is that the text is not in Arabic and it is not from the Koran. These are not verses from the Koran. My impression, rather is that this is an Iranian text."

"Unnatural setting"

"The natural setting for such a text is not southern Lebanon," Dana added. "The population in southern Lebanon may be Shi'ite but it is not Persian. While it is true that the spiritual leadership is either Iranian or Iranian-trained, the natural state of the Shi'ites is such that they do not use Persian, certainly not in public."

Dana said his conclusion was not just based on analysis of the text behind Arad but also on a more psychological evaluation of Arad's expression and "everything that the picture broadcasts."

"Ron Arad's entire expression and the situation he is in is not a natural one. This is not a natural place for him to be in," Dana said, citing Arad's "vacant gaze."

Guessing game

When asked whether Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is holding back some of the information it h

"Ron Arad's entire expression and the situation he is in is not a natural one."

as about

Arad, Dana said the matter is a difficult "guessing game." It is not impossible, he explained, that Nasrallah does have some intentions that he is not disclosing. It could be that [Nasrallah] has a problem getting information from the Iranians, where his status has its ups and downs and right now it is not so good," he surmised.

Still, the ties between Iran and Hizbullah are close ones, Dana said: "Hizbullah is well known in the Iranian street. To the best of my knowledge there are donation campaigns there for 'our Shi'ite brothers in southern Lebanon' but Nasrallah's connection is not so much with the people as it is with the leadership, that sees him as someone who takes his orders and instructions from it, and not someone who has the right to discuss or argue about things."