Wednesday, August 29, 2007


U.S. troops release Iranians held in Iraq

(The Guardian) - US troops today released a group of Iranians to Iraqi officials after detaining them at a central Baghdad hotel overnight. "They were detained yesterday by American forces and were released this morning," Yasin Majid, a media adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, told Reuters.
American troops raided Baghdad's Sheraton Ishtar hotel and took away a group of about 10 people late yesterday. The seven Iranians included an embassy official and six members of a delegation from Iran's electricity ministry.
Videotape shot last night by Associated Press Television News showed US troops leading about 10 blindfolded and handcuffed men out of the hotel. Other soldiers carried out what appeared to be luggage and at least one briefcase and a laptop computer bag.
The latest incident between the US and Iran came as the US president, George Bush, made a tough speech against Iran. In an address to the American Legion convention in Reno, Nevada, Mr Bush said: "I have authorised our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities."
Relations between the US and Iran are already strained by the detention of each other's citizens, as well as US accusations of Iranian involvement in Iraq's violence and alleged Iranian efforts to develop nuclear bombs.
The US is still holding five Iranians who were seized in January. American officials say the five include the operations chief and other members of Iran's elite Quds Force, which is accused of arming and training Iraqi militants. For its part, Iran is holding several Iranian-Americans on spying charges, although it freed an American-Iranian academic last week.

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