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UK ambassador returns to Tehran to defuse Soleimanpour crisis

British Ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, has cut short his holiday to return to Tehran amid the controversy over the continuing detention of former Iranian Ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, in the UK, IRNA reported from London.

Dalton flew back to Tehran on Friday as an application to release Soleimanpour was refused for a second time, despite being held only on a provisional extradition request from Argentina, pending a formal application with full evidence.

Argentina has to present supporting documents by September 19, when the former Iranian ambassador is next due to appear in court. It is at that stage that Home Secretary David Blunkett has to sign an Authority to Proceed for a committal hearing to go ahead.

Despite Blunkett`s role, the British Foreign Office has insisted that it is powerless to intervene in the case that is seen as having strong political dimensions following the election of a new president in Argentina earlier this year.

The accusations go back to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires and come after relatives of the 85 victims filed a civil suit charging Argentinean authorities in February with failing to adequately investigate the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992.

London`s Jewish Chronicle earlier this month suggested that right-wing elements in Argentina`s own police or security forces could be involved in the terror bombings and that the extradition suit filed against Soleimanpour and other Iranian diplomats could be cover.

The Times newspaper connected Dalton`s early return to Tehran with British fears that Iran may retaliate over the treatment of Soleimanpour and suggested that the expulsion of the British ambassador could come as early as Saturday.

... Payvand News - 8/30/03 ... --

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