( dpa ) - There have been no new developments in the case of Japanese national Satoshi Nakamura who was kidnapped three months ago in Iran, Japanese sources in Tehran said Thursday.
Nakamura was abducted in Bam, Kerman province, reportedly by a notorious criminal gang led by Ismael Shahbakhsh, who has demanded the release of his son from jail in return for the Japanese student.
There have been telephone contacts between Nakamura and his family, the Iranian foreign ministry confirmed, indicating that the 23-year-old was at least still alive.
However three visits to Tehran by Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Itsunori Onodera, where he held talks with Iranian foreign and interior ministry officials, have not yielded fruitful results.
Tehran has so far assured the Japanese side that it would do its utmost efforts to enable Nakamura's safe release but at the same time ruled out making any deals with the kidnappers, including paying a ransom or making any exchange.
According to the only information made public by Tehran, Nakamura is held in a region named Bahramchah, located close to both the Afghan and Pakistani borders.
Bahramchah is said to be a stronghold of drug-trafficker gangs and al-Qaeda militants. Considering the crises in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, analysts believe there is little hope for security help from these two states.