Iraqi Government Puts Lie to Bush Administration Claims About Raid on Iranian Consulate

Brian Zick

Steve Clemons reports: Iraq's Foreign Minister Confirms Diplomatic Mission of Detained Iranians The recent raid by US forces on the quasi-official Consulate in the city of Irbil, which resulted in detention of Iranians found inside, not only put Bush's aggression against Iran further into the spotlight, but additionally now pits Bush against the fledgling government of Iraq. Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, has now confirmed the diplomatic status of these detainees and the mission in Northern Iraq and called for their release. This should be an interesting test of the reality of Iraqi sovereignty -- and will no doubt cause a number of ulcers among U.S. military now ordered to disrupt and attack Iranian operations inside Iraq -- and perhaps beyond. Clemons links to this story in the UK Guardian, in which Kim Gamel for AP reports: The U.S. military said the five Iranians detained last week in the Kurdish-controlled northern city of Irbil were connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq. It was the second U.S. raid targeting Iranians in Iraq in less than a month. (…) The United States repeatedly has denied the office targeted in the raid was a consulate, and the State Department has said no legitimate diplomatic activity was being carried out at the site. Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley said Sunday that the U.S. had the authority to pursue Iranians in Iraq because they “put our people at risk.'' (…) Zebari, a Kurd, said those detained had been working in a liaison office issuing travel permits for the local population, and he reiterated that the office was in the process of being regularized into a consulate. “Well, we have asked for their release,'' he told CNN. “They are being interrogated by the U.S. forces. But we have established all the information that this office has been there for many years with the approval of the Kurdish regional authorities with their knowledge of the Iraqi government.''

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