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Iran Gets Letter From US To Resolve Arrests Row January 28, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.
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TEHRAN (AP)-Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that Tehran has received a letter from the U.S. which sought to resolve a dispute between the two countries.

“There has been a message from American officials,” the spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseni, told reporters at a press conference in Tehran.

Hosseini didn’t provide any information on the content of the note, or identify the U.S. officials who sent it, saying only that Tehran was “studying” the note.

“In the message, (they) want to ease the current case, which was unfortunately complicated because of policies of the United States and some other countries’ officials,” Hosseini said.

Hosseini’s wording indicated the case was that of the arrests earlier this month of five Iranians in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, at an Iranian mission there.

While Tehran has claimed the five, detained by U.S. troops, were diplomats and protested their arrests, Washington contends the men had been connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq.

Washington has accused Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs and contributing technology and bomb-making materials for insurgents to use against U.S. and Iraqi security forces. This week, the U.S. administration authorized the use of more force against Iranians in Iraq whom U.S. forces believe pose a threat.

Iran denies it has interfered in Iraq or provided weapons to insurgents.

Asked about the detained Iranians, Hosseini said that Iran has been working to secure their release, through contacts with Saudi Arabia and Iraq officials.

“These activities should lead to the release of the five fellows,” Hosseini said. He added that Iran would “soon” appoint a new consul to Irbil.

Iranian media this week reported that five U.S. senators, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, a Democrat, have sent a letter to Tehran. Neither Tehran nor Washington confirmed such a note.

Biden last week sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, asking him to explain whether the U.S. administration believes it could attack Iran or Syria without the approval of Congress.

Iran and the U.S. have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and kept 52 people hostage for 444 days.

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