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Iran links Iraqi Defense Ministry to Iranian diplomat's abduction

Tehran, Feb 6, IRNA - Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini on Tuesday linked the abduction of an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, which works under the control of US forces in the country.

The second secretary of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad, Jalal Sharafi, was kidnapped Sunday in front of the Baghdad branch of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli and taken to an unknown place.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns the terrorist act which runs counter to international regulations and the Vienna Convention," Hosseini said.

He called on the Iraqi government to exert utmost effort to obtain the release of the abducted diplomat at the earliest and to severely punish the agents who carried out the act which, he said, harms the joint interests of Iran and Iraq.

He said US behavior and performance in Iraq have led to tensions and "clearly violates all international conventions."

"The US' performance will have adverse consequences on its diplomatic standing in the international community."

"Based on reliable information, certain agents behind the terrorist act have been arrested. They acted under US supervision," Hosseini said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers it a responsibility of US forces in Iraq to protect members of the diplomatic community, including Iranian diplomats, and will hold them responsible for obtaining the release of the abducted Iranian diplomat."

Iraqi, Swiss ambassadors summoned to Foreign Ministry

Both Iraqi and Swiss ambassadors to Tehran were summoned to Foreign Ministry Tuesday in protest at kidnapping of second Secretary of the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, Jalal Sharafi.

Following the terrorist abduction on Sunday of Iranian diplomat, the two ambassadors were summoned to the Foreign Ministry to hear Iranian protest against the action which runs counter with Geneva Convention.

Swiss Embassy looks after the US interest section in Tehran.

Witnesses said that US troops were involved in abduction of Iranian diplomat.

Iranian foreign ministry called for immediate release of the diplomat and bringing to justice those involved in the terrorist actions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran considers responsibility of US forces in Iraq to protect members of the Iraq-based diplomatic corps, including Iranian diplomats, and holds them accountable for release of the Iranian diplomat.

Iranian FM rejects secret talks with US over nuclear case

Tehran, Feb 6, IRNA - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Tuesday dismissed the idea of holding secret talks between Tehran and Washington to settle their differences over Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.

Mottaki, who was speaking to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV channel, assessed as "incorrect" issues over calls for secret talks between Iran and the US.

"The US policy in the Middle East region is false and will lead to further disputes.

"The US officials recently announced they will arrest Iranians in Iraq but found no Iranians to arrest and, therefore, decided to attack the country's consulate in Iraq's Erbil city," the minister said.

He criticized the abduction of the Iranian diplomats by US forces in Erbil and called for their speedy release.

... Payvand News - 2/6/07 ... --

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