News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqUS military probes reports of Iranian diplomat kidnapped

US military probes reports of Iranian diplomat kidnapped

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AFP: The US military on Tuesday was probing media reports that an Iranian diplomat has been kidnapped in Baghdad by men posing as Iraqi defence ministry officials, a military spokesman told AFP. BAGHDAD, Feb 6, 2007 (AFP) – The US military on Tuesday was probing media reports that an Iranian diplomat has been kidnapped in Baghdad by men posing as Iraqi defence ministry officials, a military spokesman told AFP.

“We are looking into these media reports,” Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver said.

The New York Times said an Iranian diplomat had been abducted Sunday evening when his convoy was stopped by men with official defence ministry identification cards in Baghdad’s Karrada district.

The report quoting Iraqi officials said Iraqi security forces captured several suspects after pursuing their vehicles through the streets of Baghdad. “The vehicle with the diplomat was not caught, though,” it said.

The men captured in the chase by Iraqi forces on Sunday were Iraqis with defence ministry identification, it said, adding this raised “serious questions about whether government forces themselves were involved in the abduction”.

A senior Iraqi official told the paper the credentials at first appeared to be genuine but investigators later received conflicting information about whether the men had been dismissed from the ministry but somehow kept their identification.

In Tehran, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday: “We are reviewing the reports and we will tell you as soon as we can substantiate something.”

The reports of abduction come amid increased tension between Tehran and Washington after US forces last month raided an Iranian office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil and arrested five Iranians.

The five are still in US custody.

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