Thursday, September 20, 2007


U.S. forces arrest Iranian in Kurdistan

(AFP) - US forces arrested an Iranian businessman on Thursday at a hotel in Sulaimaniyah, a majority Kurdish city in northern Iraq, a regional government official told AFP. He is the latest Iranian national to be detained in Iraq by the US military, which accuses Iran of helping fund and arm Shiite militia groups in the country's bloody sectarian conflict.
The businessman, identified only as Farhadi, was detained at around 4.00 am (midnight GMT) after US troops raided the Sulaimaniyah Palace hotel, said a spokesman for government of the largely autonomous region of Kurdistan. The businessman was a member of an Iranian commercial delegation visiting Sulaimaniyah, said the spokesman, Jamal Abdullah.
"American troops raided the Sulaimaniyah Palace hotel early in the morning and arrested a man known as Farhadi. He was a member of a commercial delegation from the Iranian province of Kermanshah," Abdullah said. US military spokesman Major Winfield Danielson said he could not immediately comment on the reported detention.
There was no immediate comment frm Tehran. Late last month, US forces briefly detained a group of Iranians, including two diplomats, from a Baghdad hotel in what the military later said was a "regrettable incident." Tehran issued a protest over what it called the "unjustifiable" detention of the Iranians, who were taken by US troops from a hotel in blindfolds and handcuffs after their convoy was stopped at a nearby checkpoint.
Thursday's arrest is the third such action by US troops since January, when five Iranians working in the northern Kurdish city of Arbil were seized for allegedly aiding the anti-American insurgency. They are still in US military custody. It comes amid mounting tension between the United States and Iran, with Washington accusing Tehran of stoking tensions in Iraq and of covertly developing a nuclear weapon.
Iran denies both charges, saying the presence of US troops is the main cause of violence in Iraq and that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only. Amid a mounting war of words, Iran angered Washington further when it warned on Wednesday that it could bomb Israel if it was attacked by the Jewish state. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is travelling to New York on Sunday and will give a speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the same day that US President George W. Bush is scheduled to speak.

Labels: , , , , ,

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?