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Iranian Diplomat Freed By Iraqi Captors

Iranian consular official Fereidun Jahani speaking to journalists today after his release 27 September 2004 -- An Iranian diplomat was freed by his captors in Iraq today after spending more than a month as a hostage.

Iran's Foreign Ministry confirmed that Faridoun Jahani, the Iranian consul in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala, was released and was safe at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad.

"The only political demand [the captors] made was the release of all Iraqi prisoners held in Iran," Jahani told reporters. "When they found out there were no Iraqi prisoners in Iran they changed [their position]."

Meanwhile, at least 11 people were killed today in clashes around Iraq.

U.S. warplanes bombed suspected insurgents in Baghdad's Al-Sadr City suburb, killing five people. A roadside bomb near the city of Baquba killed five more Iraqis and wounded another person.

Another car bomb in the northern city of Mosul targeted an Iraqi National Guard patrol, killing at least one guardsman and wounding four others.

In Stockholm today, Iraq's interim Minister for Displacement and Migration Pascale Isho Warda urged Iraqi refugees wanting to return home to wait a while.

Warda said after meeting with her Swedish counterpart Barbro Holmberg that the Iraqi government was recommending that Iraqi refugees quote "not be in too much of a hurry, and to wait one, maybe two years" before seeking to return.

Warda said Iraq did want all its people to return from abroad, but cautioned the security situation in Iraq was not settled enough for the return of thousands of people.

Warda said she hoped the situation would improve after January elections in Iraq.

Warda is due to travel on to Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland in search of more pledges of aid for Iraq.


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