News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqTehran criticizes U.N. on held Iranians

Tehran criticizes U.N. on held Iranians

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AP: Iran’s foreign minister criticized U.N. Security Council inaction in the case of five Iranians detained by U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iranian state news agency said Monday. Associated Press

By NASSER KARIMI

Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s foreign minister criticized U.N. Security Council inaction in the case of five Iranians detained by U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iranian state news agency said Monday.

The United States detained the five Iranians in the northern city of Irbil in January and has not allowed Iranian officials to visit them. The U.S. has accused Iran of providing money and weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq, charges Iran denies.

Iran has denounced their detention, denying that they had any links to insurgents and saying the five men were diplomats who were engaged exclusively in consular work.

“It is very regrettable that the requests (for release) were not regarded, and the council is still refusing to undertake necessary actions,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in the letter to the Security Council.

The letter was reported by Iran’s state broadcasting company Sunday, but its contents were not revealed.

Mottaki was quoted in the letter as criticizing the Security Council’s double standards, an apparent reference to the body’s decision to issue a statement expressing “grave concern” during the standoff over 15 British sailors who were detained by Iran for allegedly entering Iranian waters. The sailors were released last week, and Britain continues to deny they entered Iran’s territory.

The detentions have also complicated relations between predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran and Shiite-led Iraq.

On Sunday, Mottaki said he sent a letter to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warning that the continued detention of its diplomats would affect Iranian aid to Iraq.

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