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Iraq's president angry at US forces' arrest of an Iranian delegate

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent an "angry" letter to the Ryan C. Crocker, US ambassador to Iraq, and General David Petraeus, the US top commander in Iraq, local reports said Sunday.

 Iraq's president angry at US forces' arrest of an Iranian delegate
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent an "angry" letter to the Ryan C. Crocker, US ambassador to Iraq, and General David Petraeus, the US top commander in Iraq, demanding the release of a member of an Iranian delegation currently detained by the US army, local reports said Sunday.

"The Islamic Iranian republic is threatening to close the borders between Iran and Kurdistan (region)," said the letter, if the Iranian delegate, who was visiting the northern city of Sulaymaniyah as a member of an Iranian trade convoy, was not set free.

The Iranian man was on an official mission in the autonomous Kurdish region, and the Kurdish government was pre-informed of his visit, read the letter which Talabani branded "a letter of anger."

"I express our anger at the US forces' arrest of this civilian visitor without consultation or coordination with the government of Kurdistan," read the letter published on the Iraqi presidency website.

"This is an insult and a trespassing on the powers and rights (of the Kurdish region)."

Iranian shelling of the border areas of the Kurdish autonomous region had resumed Saturday at dawn in northern Iraq after a week-long cessation of fire.

Previously, Iranian forces had only bombed the border areas with the Kurdish region, to target militants and the bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Party for Freedom and Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) from Iran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini had justified attacks on Iraqi territory by saying that Iran was hunting terrorists and weapons smugglers in northern Iraq who were responsible for the killing of a large number of Iranian border soldiers and for the illegal transfer of weapons into Iran.

However, officials and observers in the Kurdish region believe that Saturday's overnight shelling was in response to the arrest of the Iranian national.

US forces had arrested the citizen claiming that he was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - Quds Force. The forces charged him with facilitating the smuggling of weapons into Iraqi territories.

Gamal Abdullah, spokesman for the Kurdish autonomous region, had told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

DPA
Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2007, 17:29
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