US forces on Wednesday freed a group of Iranians including two diplomats who were seized at a Baghdad hotel overnight in what the military said was a "regrettable incident."
Tehran issued a protest over what it called the "unjustifiable" detention of the Iranians, who were taken by US troops from the Sheraton hotel in blindfolds and handcuffs after their convoy was stopped at a nearby checkpoint.
The seizure of the Iranians came late on Tuesday.
Saadi Othman, an adviser to the US commander of troops in Iraq, General David Petraeus, described the detention as "regrettable."
"Nothing was intended, and once we found out from the Iraqi government that they were Iranian officials, we released them," Othman told BBC television.
Iran lodged a formal complaint with the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents US interests there, saying the Iranians were members of an energy ministry delegation in Baghdad for talks on building a power plant.
"The foreign ministry summoned the Swiss charge d'affaires ... and expressed a strong protest at this unjustifiable approach that is against international law, and demanded a US explanation," the ministry said.
It is the second such action by US troops since January, when five Iranians working in the northern Kurdish city of Arbil were seized for allegedly aiding the anti-American insurgency. They are still in US military custody.
Last Mod: 30 Ağustos 2007, 10:35