Gulf News

US rules out freeing Iranians after Tehran warning

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United States yesterday ruled out releasing five Iranians held in Iraq, after Tehran warned it was unlikely to attend a May conference on Iraq's security unless they were freed. Asked whether the United States would consider releasing the five, whom US forces detained in a January raid in northern Iraq, White House national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe replied: “No.” Johndroe also rejected charges by Iranian state television that the United States had severely abused an Iranian diplomat during a twomonth captivity in Iraq. “The United States was not involved in his detention, and any suggestion of torture is baseless,” Johndroe said after Iranian television showed footage of Jalal Sharafi's wounds and called them proof of US torture.

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