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Iran wants journalist released on bail

Iran’s foreign minister has asked his Italian counterpart to take measures so that the jailed Iranian journalist in Italy could be released on bail.

Manouchehr Mottaki, in a phone conversation with Franco Frattini on Monday, urged that Hamid Masouminejad, a journalist being accused of arms smuggling, and Ali Damirchilou, another imprisoned Iranian national, be taken to the Iranian Embassy in Rome.

Masouminejad is an employee of Iran’s national broadcaster, IRIB. He was arrested after Italian counterterrorism prosecutor Armando Spataro claimed a nine-month investigation, including intercepted phone conversations and e-mail messages, had implicated the journalist.

The move has sparked a diplomatic row between Rome and Tehran as Iran contends the move was politically motivated.

Mottaki also asked his counterpart to swiftly review the cases of the two Iranian nationals.

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