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Iran Confirms US Demand for Finding Abducted Americans in Iraq

25 January 2016 13:37


Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif to help Washington find the American nationals kidnapped in Baghdad earlier this month.

“The Americans have made the demand,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

He referred to Iran’s cooperation with the US in the past 25 years for humanitarian purposes, and said, “If the Islamic Republic can help, the issue will be pursued based on its policies.”

Jaberi Ansari promised Iran would help as humanely as possible, but added that it is still up to the relevant authorities to study such possibility.

Kerry said last week that he had spoken to Zarif about the three abducted Americans in Iraq. Kerry also confirmed at the Davos World Economic Forum on January 21 that he had spoken to Zarif about the issue.

Kerry said he asked Zarif “if Iran knew any way to provide help or if there were some way they could have an impact on getting the right kind of outcome”.

“He said he would take that under advisement and try to do what he can,” Kerry said, adding that Zarif said he “didn’t have any immediate knowledge whatsoever about it”.

Iraqi officials are searching for the Americans, whom the Baghdad security command said were abducted from a “suspicious apartment” in Southern Baghdad.

Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi said the three American nationals were kidnapped by an “organized gang” known for carrying out such abductions for “blackmail.”

He said the kidnappers spotted the three Americans as they repeatedly visited the same place.

“An organized gang spotted them coming repeatedly to this place, which, I believe, is suspect,” al-Obaidi said, adding the group carries out “kidnapping and blackmail operations”.

However, he stopped short of identifying the gang.

The three men are reportedly employed by a contracting company that works for General Dynamics Corp, under a larger contract with the US army. According to reports, the three were identified as two Iraqi-Americans and one Egyptian-American.

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