The mother of several of Osama bin Laden's children pleaded with Iran to release six of her children, in remarks carried by the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat Thursday. Iran denies the children are in custody, DPA reported.
Najwa al-Ghanem, Bin Laden's first wife, on Thursday told al-Sharq al-Awsat she misses her children and that she wished Iran would let them return to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi-owned daily on Wednesday reported that al-Ghanem's daughter, Iman, had been at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran for three weeks and had asked to be allowed to leave the country.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called the reports absurd.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat said Iman spoke with her brother, Abdullah, in Saudi Arabia, and said that she and five of her brothers, along with another of their father's wives, a woman identified only as Umm Hamza, have been held by Iranian authorities since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The Bin Laden family said they had previously had no news of the whereabouts of the missing members since late 2001. The family was believed to have been in Afghanistan before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
The London Times reported that the family walked to the Iranian border, and were then were taken to a walled compound outside Tehran, where guards said they were not allowed to leave "for their own safety."
Family members quoted by the Times said that, while they thanked Iran for taking in the relatives, the family would now like them to be allowed to rejoin the rest of the Bin Ladens.