U.S. arrests Iranians in Iraq
U.S. soldiers in Iraq have arrestedseveralIranians, including members of Iran's military, a senior U.S. official confirmed.
Thearrests this week of the Iranians, who U.S officials suspect of conducting attacks against Iraqi security forces,sparked more accusations from Washington that Iran continues to interfere in the troubled region.
At least four Iranians were seized in the raids, including two diplomats, the U.S. National Security Council said.
NSC spokesman Gordon Johndroesaid the two diplomats had been released to the Iraqi government.
The others remain in custody and are being investigated for possible involvement in attacks on security forces in Iraq, Johndroe said.
In Baghdad, a spokesman for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani confirmed that U.S. troops had detained two Iranians who were in Iraq at his invitation.
"The president is unhappy about it," said Hiwa Osman, Talabani's media adviser.
He gave no further details, and the U.S. military said it had no comment.
U.S. officials have charged that Iran provides training and other aid to Shia militias in Iraq— including the equipment used to build roadside bombs. The Tehran regime says it only has political and religious links with Iraqi Shias.
"We suspect this event validates our claims about Iranian meddling, but we want to finish our investigation of the detained Iranians before characterizing their activities," White House spokesman Alex Conant said Monday.
"We will be better able to explain what this means about the larger picture after we finish our investigation."
One of the raids took place in the Baghdad compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful Shia leaders, who travelled to Washington three weeks ago to meet President George W. Bush, the New York Times reported.
With files from the Associated Press