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Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 12:28 GMT
US frees detained Iran diplomats
Baghdad bomb attack (file image)
The US accuses Iran of fuelling Iraq's insurgency
US forces in Iraq have released two Iranian diplomats detained in a raid in Baghdad last week, the Iranian state-run news agency says.

The diplomats were handed over to the Iranian embassy in the city on Friday, the IRNA agency said.

The Iranians were among a number of people held during the raid on suspected insurgents.

US officials, who announced earlier this week they were holding the men, have made no comment on their release.

'Iraqi government pressure'

The Iranian diplomats were in Iraq at the invitation of Iraq's president as part of an agreement to improve security between the two countries, according to Iranian officials.

"The American forces admitted, despite their initial denial, they had detained Iranian diplomats and pressure from the Iraqi government for their release fortunately bore results," said Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi.

Earlier this week a US military spokesman said the Iranians were among 10 people held following an intelligence-based operation against suspected insurgents.

The US has long accused Iran of providing financial and military support to insurgent groups in Iraq.

Iran denies the allegations, saying security in Iraq is also in Iran's best interests.

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