Baghdad, Sept 23, IRNA - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has strongly protested to detention of an Iranian civilian official by US forces in Iraq.
In a letter addressed to the top US officials in Iraq, General David Petraeus and ambassador Ryan Crocker, Talabani expressed indignation at detention of Mahmoud Farhadi, a civilian from the Iranian western province of Kermanshah, by the US forces.
Farhadi, an employee in charge of trade exchanges in the governor general's office of Kermanshah, was arrested by US forces in the Iraqi city of Suleymaniya last Thursday.
He was on on official visit at the head of an economic delegation.
His visit had taken place with the permission of Iraq's Kurdish government with the cooperation of Iraqi officials in Baghdad.
Both Iran and the Kurdish government have said that Farhadi was part of a visiting business delegation.
Expressing displeasure over Farhadi's arrest, the Iraqi president called it "a humiliation for the regional administration." He demanded Farhadi's immediate release "in order to maintain healthy relations between Iran and Kurdistan and for the prosperity of Kurdistan."
President Talabani said that Farhadi's arrest was against the competency and rights of the Kurdish regional government which had permitted his visit to Suleymaniya with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities in Baghdad.
He said in the letter, a copy of which was made available to IRNA office in Baghdad Sunday morning, that the detention has taken place "without consulting the government of Kurdistan."
President Talabani had attached a protest letter of the Kurdish regional government over Farhadi's arrest to his letter.
The president said the detainee was an official on a "commercial mission with the knowledge of the federal government in Baghdad and the government of Kurdistan."
Referring to the consequences of the rouge act of the US forces, President Talabani said that following the arrest Tehran has "threatened to close its border with the Kurdish region.
"This will handicap trade in the Kurdish region in this blessed month," the Iraqi president added referring to the Muslims' fasting month of Ramadan.
Farhadi was taken to an undisclosed place after being seized by the US troops.
Following Farhadi's arrest, Iran's ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi sent a strong protest letter to Iraq's Foreign Ministry calling for immediate release of the Iranian official.
"This kind of action violates the sovereignty of Iraq," the ambassador said.
... Payvand News - 9/24/07 ... --