Wednesday, June 20, 2007

US Will Not Release Five Iranians Captured in Irbil

Robin Wright has a new story on the Washington Post website which reports that the US will not release the five Iranians captured in Irbil, Iraq in January until at least this coming October. Wright says, "The delay is as much due to miscommunication within the U.S. government as a policy decision, they said. " The decision could have negative ramifications for the four Iranian Americans who have been detained in Iran since May.

According to Wright, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari appealed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to free the five Iranians during a visit to Washington June 18-19.

"Zebari told U.S. officials that the release would promote progress in the new U.S.-Iran dialogue on Iraq, which brought diplomats from the two nations together last month in Baghdad at their first public meeting in almost three decades. Iran has become pivotal to U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq, since Tehran now has greater influence in Iraq with a wider cross section of parties than any other country. It has also armed, funded and trained many of the militant groups.

"Zebari warned that Tehran either might not attend a second session or not be cooperative unless the five Iranians are released, according to the sources."

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