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U.S. Frees Iranians Held Overnight In Iraq

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said U.S. influence in Iraq was collapsing quickly (epa) August 29, 2007 -- Iranian officials say U.S. forces freed a group of Iranians today after holding them overnight in Baghdad.

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that U.S. forces detained the delegation, which was in Iraq to sign an electricity contract, on August 28 in a Baghdad hotel.

Reports say there were seven Iranians staying at the hotel, including six members of the delegation.

Shortly before the raid on the hotel, U.S. President George W. Bush said in a speech that he had authorized U.S. military commanders to confront what he called Iran's "murderous activities" in Iraq.

Earlier, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said U.S. political influence in Iraq was "collapsing rapidly," and Tehran is ready to help fill any power vacuum.

(AP, Reuters, AFP)

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