1938 Alert. “Iran to make U.S. ‘regret’ detention of Iranians-FM,” by Fredrik Dahl for Reuters (thanks to Mackie):
TEHRAN, June 12 (Reuters) – Iran will make the United States “regret” its detention of five Iranians in Iraq since early this year, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Tuesday.
Iran says the five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil in January are diplomats and has demanded their release. U.S. officials say they were involved in supporting militants inside Iraq.
“We will make the Americans regret their ugly and illegal action against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s consulate in Arbil, Iraq, and the abduction of the five Iranian diplomats,” Mottaki said, according to the state broadcaster’s Web site.
Mottaki said the Foreign Ministry had “put on its agenda a series of widespread actions against these unlawful and illegal actions that are in contradiction with all international conventions,” the ISNA news agency said, without giving details.
The issue has fuelled tension between the two old foes at a time of a worsening standoff over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, which the West suspects is aimed at making atom bombs. Tehran says its programme is peaceful.
Further souring relations, Iran is holding three Iranian-Americans on security-related charges. Tehran has dismissed any suggestions their cases might be linked to the five Iranians held in Iraq.