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Iranians arrested in Italy are innocent

24 April 2010 2:21

Tehran says the charges against two Iranian citizens currently detained in Italy have been trumped up as part of a US plot to undermine Tehran-Rome relations.

Iranian journalist Hamid Masouminejad and another Iranian national, Ali Damirchilou, were arrested in early March in Italy. The police have accused them of arms trafficking, but Iranian officials have rejected the allegations.

“The allegations against Mr. Masouminejad are baseless. Masouminejad is a professional journalist and it seems the reason behind his arrest was to put pressure on Iranian journalists around the world,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Friday in a telephone interview with Press TV.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry says the US is behind these arrests, and the plot is meant to harm Tehran-Rome relations.

“We believe that the psychological warfare that the United States has started is totally ineffective. We have always had friendly ties with Italy and strongly advise Italian officials not to play into the hands of US officials and to safeguard their own national interests,” Mehmanparast added.

On Wednesday, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) summoned Rome’s ambassador to Tehran, Alberto Bradanini, to explain why the Italian government is holding Masouminejad and Damirchilou in custody without presenting legal justification.

However, Bradanini failed to provide a convincing explanation to the MPs.

Earlier this month, over 70 high-profile Italians signed a petition calling for the release of the men.

Mehmanparast stated that Iran’s enemies want to deceive the international community and prepare the ground for an attack on the country.

Masouminejad worked as a senior correspondent for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for over 15 years before his arrest.

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