Tuesday, September 28, 2004

IranMania News: Iran spares no efforts to release diplomat in Iraq

IranMania News: "Iran spares no efforts to release diplomat in Iraq

Monday, September 27, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com
LONDON, Sep 27 (IranMania) - Iran said Sunday it had exhausted all diplomatic efforts for the release of diplomat Fereidoun Jahani who was kidnapped in Iraq in August, Iran's Official News Agency (IRNA) reported.

"We have taken many measures for the release of Mr. Jahani and used all our diplomatic capacities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi discussed the matter with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshiyar Zebari in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations' annual meeting, he said.

Jahani was abducted by a group calling itself Islamic Army in Iraq on August 4 on the way to Karbala from Baghdad, where he was to assume his consular post.

Iraq's new ambassador to Iran, Mohammad Majid al-Sheikh, expressed recently his concern over the continued capture of Jahani, saying `the Iraqi Foreign Ministry is following up the issue`.

The group, said to have slain Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, had threatened to punish Jahani within 48 hours after his arrest if Iran did not release 500 prisoners it alleges were captured in the two countries war of 1980 and 1988.

Al-Sheikh also regretted the martyrdom of Labib Mohammadi, an employee of the Baghdad office of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, who is said to have been assassinated near Karbala. Iran has demanded that `the Iraqi interim government work seriously to identify and punish those behind` the assassination.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry summoned Iraqi charge d'affaires Khalil Salman al-Sabihi to 'strongly protest this terrorist action'. Kharrazi regretted the 'martyrdom' of Mohammadi as well as assassination in April of the Iranian embassy`s first secretary in Baghdad, Khalil Naimi.

The Minister expressed concern over the disappearance of the Iranians in Iraq and called on the Iraqi authorities to resolve the matter as soon as possible. Four Iranian businessmen working to improve trade ties with Iraq have been arrested by US troops who reportedly handed them over to the Iraqi police.

Officials have said that Iran holds the interim Iraqi government responsible for the safety of its nationals. Last month, the Iraqi police freed IRNA reporter in Baghdad Mostafa Darban, whom they had arrested along three other IRNA journalists on August 9."

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