Iranian diplomats are still being held in occupied Iraq after being seized by US forces and by kidnappers wearing the uniforms of elite Iraqi army units.
On the morning of 11 January, US troops stormed the Iranian consulate in Arbil in northern Iraq.
Using stun bombs, they disarmed the guards, then seized five officials – claiming later that they were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Iraq’s foreign minister stated that the Iranians had been working in Arbil with the approval of the government. The building where they were seized, he added, was a liaison office, set to become a full consulate.
In February a secretary of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad was seized by gunmen wearing uniforms of the Iraqi 36th Commando Battalion – a special Iraqi unit under US direction.
The kidnapping coincided with George Bush’s allegations that Iran was directly involved in attacks on US forces in Iraq.