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Iraq's President Demands US Release Iranian Detainee

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has demanded that U.S. forces release an Iranian man detained last week in Iraq's Kurdistan region on suspicion of smuggling bombs.

Mr. Talabani said Tuesday, it was "illegal" for U.S. forces to arrest people in Iraqi Kurdistan because the U.S. had transferred security duties in the region to the Kurds.

U.S. forces detained the Iranian, Mahmudi Farhadi, last Thursday, accusing him of being an operative of the Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Iraqi and Iranian officials say Farhadi had been invited to Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a trade delegation.

Iraqi Kurdish officials say Iran has closed its border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan to protest Farhadi's arrest. Officials say the closure is a serious threat to the economy of the Kurdish region, which relies on Iran for imports of food and other goods.

In another development, Iranian state media say Iranian forces have fired artillery against Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq. It the first time that Iran has confirmed attacking Kurdish rebel targets inside Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.