The message, distributed by the Global Islamic Media Front and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group monitoring service, is purportedly from bin Laden’s son Khalid.
It directly addresses Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling on him to intervene to secure the release of the bin Laden relatives.
“After the Crusader attack on Afghanistan… they were forced to enter Iran through unofficial means, and most of those who did were women and children,” the letter said.
It accuses Iran of having rounded up the unspecified number of Bin Laden family members.
“They requested a number of times to leave Iran, only to be beaten and silenced,” Khalid bin Osama bin Laden wrote.
“Wasn’t their weakness, the pursuit of international forces of disbelief after them, and their being foreigners in a strange land away from their homes and families enough?”
Last year, Iranian media reported that six of the al-Qaeda leader’s children and one of his wives, missing since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, were under house arrest in Iran.
One of Bin Laden’s daughters, 17-year-old Iman, was said to be seeking repatriation to Saudi Arabia after escaping house arrest and taking refuge in the Saudi embassy in Tehran. SAPA