Saturday, May 19, 2007

Iran Calls on US to Stop Meddling in Esfandiari Case

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran told the United States not to meddle in the detention of a US-Iranian scholar jailed in Tehran on accusations of acting against national security.

"If Iranian nationals commit an offence in their country they will be prosecuted," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters.

"The Americans had better comment within their responsibilities and avoid meddling in the internal affairs of other countries," he added.

Mottaki was responding to a question as to whether Haleh Esfandiari was arrested in retaliation for the US detention of five Iranians in the Iraqi city of Erbil in January.

The US military has said another two Iranians are also being held in Iraq but have provided no details.

Iranian officials on Tuesday said that Esfandiari, who works for the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center, was being held by the country's intelligence service for "acting against national security."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called for her immediate release but Iran, which does not recognize dual nationality, says she will be treated as an Iranian.

An Iranian paper has earlier accused Esfandiari of being an "Israeli intelligence service agent" and seeking to foment revolution in Iran.

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