Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Passenger goes missing in Iran on way to World Cup

MADRID ( Associated Press) – A Spanish man traveling from Madrid to Doha to attend the Qatar 2022 World Cup has had no contact since crossing the border into Iran three weeks ago, his family said Monday, adding that his Apprehensions about whereabouts in a country. Shocked by the riots.

Santiago Sanchez, 41, an experienced hiker, former paratrooper and avid soccer fan, was last seen in Iraq after crossing 15 countries. Over the past nine months, he has shared his journey extensively on Instagram.

The last time Sanchez’s family heard from him was on October 2, a day after he crossed the Iraq-Iran border.

“We are very worried, my husband and I can’t stop crying,” Celia Cogador, the hiker’s mother, told The Associated Press.

Visibly exhausted, Celia and Sanchez’s father Santiago, sitting by a fireplace at the family home in central Spain, shared with reporters the last treasured audio message sent by his son that morning, reportedly on Iranian soil and in which he detailed his plans for the future.

“I am with a friend of mine who has come to pick me up. And I’m going to Bandar Abbas, 1,700 kilometers away, to the south, south of Iran, near the island of Hormuz,” Sanchez said in a low voice.

The Spanish explorer explained that he intended to travel the next day to Tehran, the captain of Iran, where he would be interviewed by a television station. His next stop will be Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran, where he will board a ship that will take him to Qatar.

Before crossing, Sanchez warned his family that it would be difficult to communicate in Iran.

“After a few days you don’t worry he doesn’t publish anything, he agrees with what he says. But after 8 or 9 days, my daughter, close friend… we already started thinking That we should report him missing,” said the mother.

Her parents reported her missing on 17 October and indicated that Spanish police and diplomats were helping them.

Spain’s foreign ministry said it had no information on Santiago Sanchez’s whereabouts, adding that the Spanish embassy in Tehran was looking after the situation. Iran’s foreign ministry did not respond to calls seeking comment.

This is not the first time that Sanchez has traveled to Iran. In 2019, she cycled a similar route between Madrid and Saudi Arabia.

Sanchez’s disappearance in Iran comes amid growing protests in the Islamic republic in the largest anti-government movement in a decade.

Nation World News Desk
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