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."
"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)
Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24
WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement.
The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."
LISTENListen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
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