Diplomats from Iran made their first visit Saturday to five Iranians who have been detained by U.S. forces in northern Iraq.

U.S. military officials say the five, who were detained in January, were helping militants in Iraq fight against U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Tehran says the men are diplomats and is demanding their release.

An Iraqi foreign ministry statement today said it hoped that the gesture would help ease tensions and facilitate dialogue between the U.S. and Iran.

In late May, the United States held its highest level talks with Iran in almost 30 years. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker met with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi. During that meeting, Crocker asked Iran to stop supporting militias in Iraq.

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