Iran Summons Swiss Ambassador

A02237766.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Iraqi and Swiss envoys to Tehran over the detention of five Iranian staffers at a diplomatic mission in northern Iraq.

The ministry had summoned the ambassadors and “demanded an explanation” about the incident. Switzerland represents American interests in Iran, where there is no US embassy.

The summons followed an early morning raid in Iraq, where US forces stormed the building of the Iranian consulate general in the Kurdish-controlled northern city of Erbil, 220 miles from Baghdad.

The troops detained the five staffers and confiscated computers and documents, according to local Kurdish officials in Erbil.

The US military issued a statement saying it had taken six people into custody in the region but did not mention a raid on the Iranian consulate. It declined further comment.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini stressed that the raid was “against a diplomatic mission” since the “presence of Iranian staffers in Erbil was legal.”

Hosseini pointed out that the action by the US-led coalition reflected “continuation of pressure” on Iran, aiming to “create tension” between Iraq and its neighbors.

Last month, US troops detained elsewhere in Iraq at least two Iranian diplomat who were in that country at the invitation of President Jalal Talabani.

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