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Iranian delegation heads to Iraq to press for release of arrested journalist and diplomat

Tehran, Aug 17, IRNA -- A group of officials from three Iranian ministries left Tehran for Baghdad Tuesday morning to follow up the case of the Iranian journalist and diplomat recently arrested in Iraq, an Interior Ministry source said in Tehran on Tuesday.

The informed source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the group included the director-general of the ministry's security affairs and representatives from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Information and Iranian police.

The source added that the group left Iran for Iraq via the western city of Kermanshah, 526 km west of the capital Tehran.

He said that the group is to hold talks with Iraqi officials on the situation of an IRNA reporter arrested last week in Baghdad along with two of his staff as well as the fate of an Iranian diplomat who disappeared in early August while on his way to the Iraqi city of Karbala to assume consular duties.

The IRNA Baghdad bureau chief, Mostafa Darban, and his two Iraqi staff, Mohammad Khafaji and Mohsen Madani, were reported to have been arrested by Iraqi police and are being held at the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, Fereydoun Jahani, an experienced diplomat with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, was abducted on August 4 by unknown men on his way to Karbala to head Iran's consular mission there. No report has been released on his whereabouts.

The Interior Ministry source was optimistic the Iranian officials, after holding talks with their Iraqi counterparts, would be able to clarify the issues involved and pave the way for the release of the detainees.

... Payvand News - 8/17/04 ... --

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