Iran denies the charge and demands the five be released.
U.S. President George W. Bush has accused Iran of trying to destabilize Iraq. That accusation was repeated by Vice President Dick Cheney on U.S. television on January 14.
"I think the message that the president sent clearly is that we don't want them [the Iranians] doing what they can to try to destabilize the situation in Iraq," Cheney said.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also called for the release of the five Iranians in what he said was a legitimate diplomatic mission. Speaking on CNN, Zebari said Iraq has to keep good relations with its neighbors in the region.
2006 In RFE/RL's World
2006 IN REVIEW: A photo gallery of key news events of 2006 from across RFE/RL's broadcast region. ...more