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Iraqi President Criticizes US for Detaining Iranian Man


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has criticized the U.S. military for detaining an Iranian man suspected of smuggling roadside bombs and foreign terrorists into Iraq.

Mr. Talabani criticized the arrest in a letter Saturday to General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, and to U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker. The man was detained Thursday in Sulaimaniyah in Kurdish northern Iraq.

President Talabani, a Kurd, called for the immediate release of the Iranian man and said he was on a commercial mission with the full knowledge of Iraq's government at the time of his arrest.

Mr. Talabani said Iran has threatened to close its border with northern Iraq's Kurdish region if the man is not freed.

The U.S. military has accused the man of belonging to the Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Iran denies the U.S. allegation and says the man was part of a business delegation from Iran's Kermanshah province.

The U.S. Defense Department says U.S. forces have detained seven Iranian Quds force operatives in Iraq.