Friday, November 9, 2007

US Military Frees Two Iranian Officials

The US military in Iraq today released two of the five Iranian officials arrested during a raid in Erbil last January. The Iranian foreign ministry identified the two as Musa Cheghini and Hamid Reza Asgari-Shokooh (ISNA, 9 November).

Seven Iranian civilians were also released today. Iran claims they were pilgrims. US military suspected them of involvement in terrorist activities.

Six Iranian officials are still held in Iraq. In addition to three remaining officials from Erbil, the detainees include Mahmoud Farhadi who was arrested in Sulaymaniyah last September and two others in Baghdad.

Mahmoud Farhadi is accused by US military of being a high-ranking officer in IRGC-Quds Force involved in smuggling deadly roadside bombs into Iraq. Iran says Farhadi is a low-level provincial trade official visiting Iraq to promote commerce. Iran closed its border with Iraqi Kurdistan for more than two weeks to protest Farhadi’s arrest.

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