16 August 2004 -- Iran today said it is holding Iraq's interim government responsible for the fate of its diplomat who went missing last week while traveling between Baghdad and Karbala.
Government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh warned that Iran is taking the matter "very seriously."
Also today, a group of Iranian lawmakers asked Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi to ensure the speedy release of diplomat Fereydun Jahani.
A group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq has claimed responsibility for Jahani's abduction, threatening to punish its captive unless Iran releases 500 Iraqis allegedly held captive since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza-Asefi today said Tehran is "suspicious" of the group, saying the prisoner-of-war issue has been long closed with Iraq.
(AFP/IRNA)For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".