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Iraqis Holding Iran Diplomat Seek POW Release

15 August 2004 -- An Iraqi militant group has threatened to punish an Iranian diplomat being held hostage unless Iran agrees to release Iraqi prisoners.

The militants have given Iran a 48-hour deadline to release 500 Iraqi prisoners the group says remain in Iranian custody from the Iran-Iraq War that ended in 1988, and from the 1991 Gulf War.

The group says it will release the diplomat if Iran complies.

But Iran's student news agency ISNA today quoted the head of Iran's prisoner-of-war commission, General Abdollah Najafi, as saying there are no more Iraqi prisoners of war in Iran.

The Iranian diplomat was kidnapped last week.