The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad (file photo) (epa)
February 6, 2007 -- Iran says one of its diplomats has been kidnapped in Baghdad and that it holds the United States responsible for his life.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Husseini said Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, was abducted on February 4, allegedly by men linked with the Iraqi Defense Ministry.
State television quoted Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, as saying the act had been committed "in the framework of [U.S. President George W.] Bush's order."
The White House in January vowed to interrupt what he called the "flow of support" from Tehran to militants in Iraq in language that prompted criticism in Tehran.
"I cannot say who has done this [kidnapping]," Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei told journalists in Madrid today. "What is important is that is that we are in great need of peace there, and that is only possible by giving the power to the people and the government. Everyone should strengthen the [Iraqi] national government. We should support it and not interfere so that the national government can resolve these issues."
U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver said the purported abduction involved neither U.S. troops nor Iraqis who report to them.
(Reuters, AFP, AP)