Iran Reopens 2 Consulates in Iraq
ARBIL, Iraq, Nov 6 (Alalam) --Iran re-opened Tuesday its
consulates in Sulaimaniya and Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Iraqi
Kurdistan Region, in the presence of the region's Prime Minister Nejervan
al-Barazani and Iran's ambassador in Baghdad Hassan Kazemi
to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi (front L) lifts the Iranian flag in
"We had two consulates in Arbil
and Sulaimaniya but unfortunately the US forces arrested five personnel from our
consulate in Arbil and are still under custody," said Qomi, terming the arrests
as "illegal and ran counter to Iraq's sovereignty."
"We wish the
detainees would be released soon so that they return to their jobs in the
The re-opening of those two consulates was in coordination
with the central Iraqi government and the Iraqi Kurdistan region's government,"
The Iranian diplomat called on Arab countries to open their
consulates in Iraq.
US forces had retained five staff of the Iranian
consulate in Arbil on charges of offering assistance for armed groups in Iraq.
Iran's government then denied the baseless accusations and argued that they were
Extending thanks to Iran over re-inauguration of its two
consulates in northern Iraq, Barazani said "the two consulates will offer
facilities for citizens of the region wishing to visit Iran or develop trade
relations between the two countries."
In this regard, the US military
said on Tuesday it will release nine Iranians arrested in Iraq in recent months,
including two seized in a swoop in the Kurdish city of Arbil in
US military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith told reporters
that the nine will be released in the coming days as none of them posed a threat
to security in Iraq.
He said two of the detainees were seized in Arbil in
January this year and the other seven were detained at various other
In January, the US military detained five Iranian diplomats who
were picked up in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil.
official Mahmoud Farhadi was detained by the US military in September after
which Tehran closed the Iraq-Iran border for a fortnight.
Iran and the
Kurdish regional government say Farhadi is a businessman who was part of a
commercial delegation visiting the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah.
not known whether he is among the nine.
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