News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran presses U.S. on detained Iranians in Baghdad

Iran presses U.S. on detained Iranians in Baghdad

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Reuters: Iranian delegates to a regional conference in Baghdad on Saturday demanded the release of several Iranians captured by U.S. forces in Iraq, a source at the talks said. BAGHDAD, March 10 (Reuters) – Iranian delegates to a regional conference in Baghdad on Saturday demanded the release of several Iranians captured by U.S. forces in Iraq, a source at the talks said.

Iraq called Saturday’s meeting to enlist support to end violence four years after the U.S. invasion, but it was also a rare opportunity for officials from Washington and Tehran to meet at a time of growing tension over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

U.S. soldiers seized five men Tehran says are diplomats in a raid on an Iranian government office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil on Jan. 11.

The raid came hours after U.S. President George W. Bush pledged to crack down on what he called the “flow of support” from Iran to Iraqi militants. The arrests were the second such incident in a month.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki addressed the opening session of the conference before delegates retired behind closed doors for talks, the source said.

While Iran pressed the case of the diplomats it said were in U.S. custody, U.S. delegates urged all countries present to work harder to support the political process in Iraq, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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