Tehran, Nov 9, IRNA - Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad said here Friday that his Embassy has information 25 other Iranians are still under US arrest in Iraq.
Hassan Kazemi-Qomi who had accompanied two recently released Iranian diplomats and seven freed Iranian pilgrims from the US occupying forces' prisons in Iraq, added in an interview with IRNA at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), "I hope relying on Iraqi and Iranian governments' efforts, the remainder of Iranian inmates at US prisons in Iraq, too, would be freed soon."
The occupier US forces illegally entered the premises of the Iranian Head Consulate in Iraq's Arbil Province last winter, looted the Consulate's properties, and arrested five Iranian diplomats, two of them, namely Mohsen Chegini and Hamid Asgari, were freed and returned home on Friday.
Iran's ambassador to Iraq added, "Six more of the Iranian Consulate staff are still under illegal US arrest, three of whom were Arbil Head Consulate's staff members and the rest have been kidnapped by the Americans in different parts of Iraq."
Kazemi-Qomi further stressed the illegal nature of the US forces kidnapping of the Iranian diplomats, arguing, "This odd move is in direct contrast with the articles of the international conventions, and is also violating the Iraqi Government's national sovereignty."
He reiterated, "Since these diplomats were kidnapped by US forces in Iraq's soil while performing their diplomatic duties and they enjoyed diplomatic immunity, the Iraqi Government is obliged to do its best to hasten their release form illegal arrest."
Appreciating the efforts made so long by the Iraqi Government in that regard that have led to the release of two Iranian diplomats, Kazemi-Qomi expressed hope that the rest of the arrested Iranian diplomats, too, would be released as soon as possible from the illegal US arrest.
He added, "The Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, too, has several times expressed hope that our arrested citizens in his country would be freed and returned home soon."
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has set on its agenda speedy release of the remaining Iranian consulate staff and other Iranians through Iraqi officials and international communities and recommends the US officials to free the remaining Iranians without any hesitation, while respecting all principles and terms of the consular and human rights conventions," said Hosseini in reaction to release and hand over to Iranian officials of nine out of 20 Iranians who had been detained by the US troops recently.
Hosseini said the Islamic Republic of Iran's officials had times and again stressed innocence and unjustified and inexcusable arrest of officials of Iranian consulate office in Arbil, calling for their speedy and unconditional release.
"Now, after lapse of several months since the illegal action, the US military spokesman in Iraq has acknowledged to innocence of them and to the fact that they had not had a role in Iraq unrest, announcing the US government's decision for their release," he noted.
He concluded that release of two Iranian consulate officers points to the fact that in dealing with Iraq problems, Americans should set aside unilateralism and take interests of Iraqi nation and government as the yardstick and priority of their strategies.
Nine Iranians, jailed by the US forces in Iraq, were delivered to Iranian officials by Iraqis on Friday morning in order to be transferred to their homeland after release.
The nine Iranians, including two diplomats who had been arrested in northern Iraqi city of Arbil recently, were delivered to the Iranian officials by Iraqis early Friday based on an earlier agreement.
Officials of Iranian Embassy in Baghdad met and received the group.
There are still 11 more Iranian nations in the US captivity in Iraq, acknowledged by the US authorities.
A reliable source in Iran's Embassy in Baghdad confirmed release and delivery of the Iranians to Iranian officials Friday morning and said the people are now in Baghdad international airport in order to be flown to Iran.
US military frees nine Iranians in
Nine Iranians held in Iraq on suspicion of aiding insurgents were freed Friday by the American military in Baghdad, amid growing signs that both the US and Iran are seeking to ease tensions over Iraq. -AFP
'frees nine Iranians in Iraq'
The US military in Iraq has released nine of the 20 Iranian citizens it has detained there, including two held on suspicion of helping Shia militants. -BBC
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