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Families of diplomats held by U.S. meet Red Cross rep

TEHRAN, April 8 (Mehr News Agency) -- The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tehran, Andreas Schweitzer, said here on Sunday that the Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped in northern Iraq are in good psychological and physical condition.

In a meeting with the families of the five Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped at the Iranian Consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, he said that a Red Cross delegation met them in Iraq last week.

"According to the report released by the visiting delegation, all of them are in good condition, both psychologically and physically," IRNA quoted him as saying.

On January 11, U.S. troops seized the five diplomats in Irbil, claiming they were Iranian intelligence agents.

The meeting came after an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Baghdad in February said after his release last week that he had been tortured "day and night" and interrogated by CIA officials.

Schweitzer declared that the Red Cross is ready to deliver letters from the families of the kidnapped diplomats to their relatives in Iraq.

In response to a request by the family of one of the kidnapped diplomats who asked that a film of their captive relative be made and broadcast, just as in the case of the 15 recently released British sailors and marines, he said that the Red Cross does not have the authority for such action.

"The humanitarian assistance section of the Red Cross can only meet the kidnapped diplomats, talk to them, and give them letters from their families," he added.

The Red Cross representative also excluded the possibility of phone conversations between the kidnapped Iranian diplomats and their families, saying that such communication does not fall within the scope of the Red Cross mandate and that U.S. officials must make such decisions.

In addition, the Red Cross cannot arrange meetings with the kidnapped Iranians in Iraq, Schweitzer explained.

"I can just say that they are in favorable physical condition and that the place where they are kept meets the standards of the International Committee of the Red Cross. But I cannot respond to any other question," he said.

The families of the kidnapped Iranian diplomats called on international organizations to look into the conditions of their relatives in Iraq.

The families have written letters to their relatives and given them to the Red Cross representative so the Red Cross can deliver them to the detained Iranian diplomats.

... Payvand News - 4/9/07 ... --

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