Tehran, Jan 7, IRNA-Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said that groups linked to the Taliban were behind the kidnapping of nine Iranian border guards in the eastern parts of the country.
The foreign media carried a news story which quoted an unknown group as claiming it had abducted nine Iranian soldiers to pressure Tehran to free imprisoned members of the group.
"The United States, which cannot directly encounter Iran, uses such groups to carry out such acts against the country," he told reporters in response to a question on whether the kidnappers belong to a group affiliated to the Al-Qaeda.
"Iran has launched a serious investigation into the kidnapping.
The kidnappers are quite known. They have asked for ransom and release of jailed members of their group in exchange for the release of the border guards. We hope our sons can soon return to the country with the least harm," Pour-Mohammadi said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi last week said the kidnapping was a most inhuman act and that the foreign ministry has held talks with Pakistani officials to have the soldiers released soonest and without harm.
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