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US-detained Iranians released in Iraq

21 May 2010 6:40

Iraq has released two Iranian nationals detained by American forces in the country years ago, Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi says.

The Iraqi government has secured the release of Ahmad Barazandeh and Ali Abdulmalek from a prison controlled by US forces within the framework of a security pact signed between Baghdad and Washington, Qomi told IRIB on Friday.

Iraq approved the landmark security pact with the United States in 2008 that paves the way for US forces to withdraw by the end of 2011.

The abductees were arrested by US troops in the cities of Najaf and Samara seven and three years ago respectively on “baseless charges and (for) not carrying passports,” he said.

The ambassador says the two men were on a pilgrimage to Iraqi holy cities when they were arrested by Americans.

Iraqi officials handed over the detainees to the Iranian embassy in Baghdad “a few hours ago” and they will leave Baghdad for Tehran “at the first opportunity.”

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