TEHRAN, April 20 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian politicians are losing patience about the continued illegal detainment of Iranian diplomats by U.S. forces in Iraq. One hundred days have passed since U.S. troops stormed the Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 11 and arrested five diplomats under the pretext that they were fomenting violence in Iraq.
On Friday, the Mehr News Agency sought the views of a number of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee members and the Islamic Coalition Party secretary general on this issue.
National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Alaeddin Borujerdi said that the long detention of the five Iranian diplomats is a political-psychological act of the United States carried out to deflect attention from its failures in the region.
"The Islamic Republic should continue its efforts to obtain the release of the diplomats with the help of the international community and even the United Nations," he added.
MP Reza Talaii-Nik said that the United States seeks to undermine Iran's relations with its neighbors through this act.
He called on the Foreign Ministry to use all its regional and international influence to obtain the release of the diplomats because, even after 100 days, there is still no clear sign that they will soon be released.
MP Kazem Jalali insisted that the Islamic Republic should use "all its power and capacity" to obtain the release of the diplomats as soon as possible.
MP Dariush Qanbari stated that the Foreign Ministry's measures have been insufficient.
The United States seeks to reduce Iran's influence in Iraq, tarnish the Islamic Republic's image in the eyes of regional countries, and create a feeling of insecurity for Iranians in Iraq, he noted.
MP Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh said, "Now that the U.S. insists on Iran's participation in the Iraq conference, we should use this as a tool to obtain our rights," including the release of the diplomats.
The Iraq security conference, which is to gather the country's neighbors and world powers, is scheduled to be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from May 3 to 4.
Iran should condemn all U.S. actions in Iraq because "if we move in line with U.S. strategies in Iraq, they will grow bolder in the future," Falahat-Pisheh argued.
"Iraq is responsible for the security of the Iranian diplomats, and Iraqi officials should try to help obtain their release," MP Elham Aminzadeh stated.
"The U.S. always tends to use a special tool in negotiations" and surely if the arrested diplomats are freed, it will have no other tools to pressure Iran in any possible negotiations, she added.
Islamic Coalition Party Secretary General Mohammad-Nabi Habibi argued that the U.S. regards Iran as the cause of its repeated failures in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, and it is taking such actions to save face.
However, Iran's diplomatic efforts to obtain the release of the diplomats have been satisfactory, he said.
In a recent interview, Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said there are indications that the Iranian diplomats will be freed soon, but gave no further details.
According to the Washington Post, the U.S. administration's top-level foreign policy team discussed the Iranian diplomats issue at a meeting on April 10.
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went into the meeting Tuesday advising that the men be freed because they are no longer useful, but after a review of options she went along with the consensus," the newspaper reported.
The Washington Post also stated that Vice President Dick Cheney's office made the firmest case for keeping the diplomats.
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