Iran News ...


8/21/04

234 Iranian journalists write to UN chief on Darban's fate

Tehran, Aug 20, IRNA -- Some 234 Iranian journalists sent a letter on Friday to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking him to do all that he to seek the release of their colleague, Mostafa Darban, who is currently being held in Iraq.

The signatories called on the UN chief to act on the basic mandate of the body and of his position to restore peace, stability and security around the world.

The members of the Iranian press further asked Annan to do all withhin his power to have Darban and his two Iraqi staff released without further delay. Darban, the Islamic Republic of Iran's (IRNA) bureau chief in Baghdad, and two of his local staff, were arrested on August 9 by Iraqi police.

The letter also called Annan to uphold the freedom of action of journalists all over the world.

Iraq officially confirms arrest of IRNA bureau chief, staff

Qasr-e-Shirin, Aug 20, IRNA -- Iraq has officially announced that IRNA's bureau chief in Baghdad and his local staff were arrested by its forces in Baghdad, said an Iranian Interior Ministry official in this western city Friday.

Speaking upon his arrival from Iraq, the Interior Ministry's Director-General for Security and advisor to the interior minister Amir Hossein Motahar said he was told by the Iraqi interior minister that the arrest of the IRNA reporter and his two Iraqi colleagues was the result of a "misunderstanding."

IRNA's Baghdad bureau chief Mostafa Darban and two of his Iraqi colleagues, Mohammad Khafaji and Mohsen Madani, were arrested by Iraqi police on August 9 and held at the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Finding all of them "in good health," Motahar underscored that "now that the Iraqi government has officially acknowledged that it arrested the IRNA reporter and his staff, it would be responsible for their safety."

Motahar, along with other Iranian Interior Ministry and security officials, left Iran for Iraq last Tuesday to seek the release of the detained Iranian reporter and other Iranians doing business in Iraq who have also been reportedly arrested.

He said that the interior ministry delegation held separate meetings with the Iraqi officials, including its interior minister, deputy interior minister for security affairs, deputy foreign minister and a number of security officials of the country.

The two sides discussed the problems pertaining to the arrest of the IRNA reporter as well as certain Iranians from Iran's public and private sectors who were operating in Iraq and are also reportedly being held in that country, Motahar added.

"Regarding our talks in Iraq and based on the pledges made by the Iraqi government, we believe that the existing problems would be solved soon," Motahar said.

He regretted that "enemies have been actively working" to complicate matters for the Iranians operating in Iraq by discussing "false issues."

He said his delegation warned Iraqi officials to be vigilant and avoid intrigues by common enemies of the two countries. He added that they should be careful not to ruin their good relations with Iran as a result of the intrigues of these enemies.

The meetings between the two sides highlighted the potential for Tehran and Baghdad to intensify their cooperation in security and law enforcement.

Motahar noted that the Iraqi government, since the fall of the Baathist regime, is in disarray and needs reorganization for which the Islamic Republic could be of great help.

The Iranian security official, however, said that Tehran would be ready to help "only when the current problems are successfully resolved."

... Payvand News - 8/21/04 ... --



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