Barzani vows to seek release of Iranian diplomats

October 23, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Autonomous Kurdish Government in Iraq President Massoud Barzani has vowed to make efforts to obtain the release of the Iranian diplomats kidnapped by U.S. forces in northern Iraq, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said on Wednesday.

“In negotiations, Mr. Barzani expressed his regret over this act of the occupiers of Iraq and… called it a greater insult to Iraqi officials than to Iran,” Mottaki said at a joint press conference with Barzani in Tehran.
U.S. forces raided the Iranian consulate in Irbil, northern Iraq on January 11, 2007 and detained five Iranian diplomats. Officials of the Kurdish Autonomous Region condemned the act and called on the U.S. to free them. However, three of the five Iranian diplomats are still being held at a U.S. prison camp in Iraq.
In a separate meeting with Barzani, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili said that it is essential that Iran and Iraq expand their relations.
The presence of foreign forces in Iraq is a source of insecurity, Jalili added.
Barzani thanked Iran for the support it provided Iraqis both before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan have enjoyed good relations for many years.
Iran hosted thousands of Iraqi Kurds who fled to the Islamic Republic during the genocidal campaigns Saddam’s Baath regime waged against the Kurdish people in the 1980s and 1990s