News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqWhite House rejects US-Iran detainee exchange

White House rejects US-Iran detainee exchange

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AFP: The White House on Wednesday rejected any linkage betweeen Iranians in US custody in Iraq and what it called the “unfortunate” detention of Iranian-Americans in Iran. WASHINGTON, May 23, 2007 (AFP) – The White House on Wednesday rejected any linkage betweeen Iranians in US custody in Iraq and what it called the “unfortunate” detention of Iranian-Americans in Iran.

“The Iranians held in Iraq are going to go through a process that determines their status. That process will take some months,” said US national security council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

“They have consular access and ICRC (the International Committee of the Red Cross) access and in their detention is not subject to discussion as it relates to the unfortunate holding of Iranian-Americans in Iran,” said Johndroe.

US media reported earlier that Iran has detained another US-Iranian national, described as a social scientist with ties to the same pro-democracy foundation as a prominent scholar recently jailed by Tehran.

Meanwhile, Iran has again formally demanded that the United States release five Iranians arrested by US forces in Iraq and has called for it to pay damages, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

The men were seized by US troops in January in a raid in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil. Iran insists that they were consular officials, while the Americans say they were intelligence agents.

The latest demand comes just days before US and Iranian officials hold the highest-level bilateral encounter between the two arch-foes in three decades.

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