Iran's official IRNA news agency quotes Jalal Sharafi -- who was abducted in Baghdad in February -- as saying he was kidnapped by "officials who had Iraqi Defense Ministry identification cards and were riding in American forces vehicles."
He said he was transferred to a base near Baghdad airport and was questioned by Arabic-speaking and English-speaking interrogators. He says the questions were mainly about the Iranian presence and involvement in Iraq. He said he was "severely tortured" during his ordeal.
Tehran has said that since the United States oversees Iraq's Defense Ministry, it was therefore at least complicit in the abduction of Sharafi. Washington denies Tehran's charge.
Washington has previously denied Tehran's charge, and today reiterated it. with White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe saying "the United States had nothing to do with Mr. Sharafi's detention."
Sharafi's abduction came at a time of heightened tension between Iran and the United States over the arrest of five Iranians in northern Iraq in January on suspicion of involvement with insurgents.
(AFP, Reuters, dpa, 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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