Baghdad, July 8, IRNA - Relatives of the five Iranian diplomats kidnapped by US forces in Iraq will meet them in the coming days, said Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi-Qomi Sunday.
Talking to IRNA in Baghdad, Kazemi-Qomi said in coordination with Iraqi officials and Foreign Ministry as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the diplomats are to meet their relatives within the next few days.
The diplomats were kidnapped from Iran's Consulate in Iraq's Erbil in January.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini on Saturday confirmed that the first consular meeting with the kidnapped Iranian diplomats was held Saturday.
Turning to Saturday meeting of a delegation from the Iranian embassy led by the ambassador with the kidnapped diplomats, he said "In the meeting we realized that beside the five diplomats, two Iranian government employees kidnapped by the US forces long time ago are also being kept in the same prison."
He said that the five diplomats and two employees are being kept in one of the US prisons in Baghdad.
"Efforts are being made so that the relatives of these diplomats and employees would meet them," he said.
He named the five diplomats as Mousa Chegini, Abbas Jami, Majid Qaemi, Hossein Baqeri and Hamid Asgari-Shokouh. The two employees are Majid Daghari and Seyed Heidar Alavi.
The ambassador said Daghari was kidnapped almost a year ago in Baghdad and Alavi three years ago in Sulaimaniya.
Despite efforts by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and issuance of the order for the release of Alavi, US forces have so far refrained from releasing him.
The three-member embassy delegation met the diplomats separately, he said adding the visit took five hours on the whole.
However, grounds were not prepared for visiting the employees, the ambassador said.
He said the diplomats were in good physical and moral condition.
Iraqi officials have expressed optimism that since the six month legal time limit of their detention has expired, US officials would release them, he said.
Qomi reminded that the diplomats were illegally kidnapped from inside the Iranian consulate in Erbil by US forces.
"This move of the US forces is a flagrant violation of international conventions and national sovereignty of Iraq," he said.
"Fortunately, the ICRC has recently held meetings with the Iranian diplomats twice and has paved the way for telephone contacts between the diplomats and their relatives," he said.
The ambassador thanked Iraqi officials for providing the opportunity and said meetings with diplomats are expected to continue until their release.
Tehran, July 7, IRNA - Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini on Saturday confirmed the first consular meeting with kidnapped Iranian diplomats in Iraq.
Hosseini said the five diplomats detained by the US forces have complained about their kidnapping, the US attitude and non-observance of international regulations.
Hosseini was speaking to domestic and foreign reporters at his weekly press conference while pointing to the first consular visit made on Saturday between Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi-Qomi and the detained diplomats.
"The five Iranian diplomats have complained that international regulations are not being observed about them and they are given the least facilities," he said.
He added, "The diplomats told Kazemi-Qomi moral pressure has been exerted on them because the US officials have not fulfilled their promises on their release."
The Iranian diplomats called for a meeting with their families, the spokesman said, adding, "They termed unfounded and biased the (US) allegations against them."
Hosseini thanked Iraqi officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their efforts to hold the consular meeting and called on them to secure the release of the detainees.
He described as "necessary but not sufficient" the US measure on preparing the ground for the consular visit, saying it took place after six months of procrastination.
Kazemi-Qomi on Saturday described the meeting as a step forward.
Releasing a statement, the Foreign Ministry of Iraq referred to the meeting as a valuable and "positive" development.
Foreign Minister of Iraq Hoshiyar Zebari has expressed hope that the meeting would help reduce tensions between Iran and US and lead to more talks by the two sides, said the statement.
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