Saturday, April 07, 2007

CIA tortured me, says Iran envoy

BBC piece below found here

Freed Iranian envoy Jalal Sharafi [L] with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
Mr Sharafi (L) with Foreign Minister Mottaki on arrival back in Iran
An Iranian diplomat freed last week after being abducted in Iraq in February has said he was tortured by his captors, including CIA agents.

Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary at Iran's embassy in Baghdad, told Iranian media the agents had interrogated him on his country's role in Iraq.

Mr Sharafi said he had been taken from his car by men in Iraqi army uniforms.

The US military in Iraq said the coalition forces had not been involved in the abduction or any torture.

Irbil detentions

Mr Sharafi told the Irna state news agency he was subjected to torture "day and night".

"I was kidnapped on a Baghdad street while shopping by officials who had Iraqi defence ministry ID cards and were riding in American forces vehicles," he said.

The Multi-National Force Iraq was not involved in his kidnapping or any kind of claims of torture
Lt-Col Christopher Garver,
US military

Mr Sharafi said he was taken from the Karrada district to a base near Baghdad airport and questioned in Arabic and English.

"The CIA officials' questions focused mainly on Iran's presence and influence in Iraq," he said.

"When faced with my responses on Iran's official ties with the Iraqi government they increased the torture."

Iran's Fars news agency said: "He showed reporters the marks left by torture on his body that are now being treated by doctors."

US military spokesman Lt-Col Christopher Garver denied any coalition role in the case.

"The Multi-National Force Iraq was not involved in his kidnapping or any kind of claims of torture that he is now stating that he was subjected to," Col Garver said.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Baghdad did not know who had held him.

Diplomatic tension remains high between Washington and Tehran over the detention by US forces of five Iranians in the Iraqi city of Irbil in January.

The US suspects them of aiding the Iraqi insurgency. Tehran says they have diplomatic status.

Iran this week released 15 UK sailors it had held for 13 days.

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