Friday, September 21, 2007

Barzani demands U.S. release arrested Iranian

Left: The Iranian was detained following a raid by U.S. troops on the Palace Hotel in Sulaimaniya.

Iraq Kurds demand release of Iranian detained by US

The government of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region demanded the immediate release on Friday of an Iranian arrested by US troops in a raid that sparked a new row between Washington and Tehran.

"We consider this action by the Americans to be illegal," said a statement from the office of regional president Massud Barzani.

The US military arrested the Iranian on suspicion of smuggling bombs on Thursday at a hotel in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah which forms part of the Kurdish region.

Iran condemned what it called the "unwarranted" arrest of an official it said was in Iraq at the invitation of the Kurdish regional government and lodged a strong protest with the authorities in Baghdad.

"We are following this file with the Iraqis to try to resolve the affair," said an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We have no information on where he is being held and we have no contact with those who seized him," the diplomat added.

Read the rest at France 24

Iraq Kurds urge Iranian's release

Both the Iraqi Kurds and Tehran said the man was an Iranian trade official in Iraq on the invitation of the Kurds...

A statement from the president of the Kurdish regional government, Massoud Barzani, said the arrest was illegal.

The Americans "must release this individual as quickly as possible because this kind of attitude does not serve the common interest", said the statement.

The Kurdish regional government and the Iranian foreign ministry said the detained man was the head of cross-border trade for Kermanshah province in western Iran.

Read the rest at BBC News

Related Link:
U.S.: Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force officer arrested in Iraq for transport of EFPs