Iranian Intelligence Minister said that the foreign ministry has made continued efforts to set free the five Iranian diplomats kidnapped during a raid by the US on Iran’s consulate general in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil, adding that Americans have remained unresponsive to Iran’s demands in this regard. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of President Ahmadinejad’s press conference here in Tehran on Wednesday, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ezhei told reporters that the Islamic Republic continues its efforts until the diplomats are released.
Asked to comment on the pardoning of the 15 British troops by President Ahmadinejad, he said, “As the president announced the decision was adopted as a result of Islamic kindness.”
“Iran has always pioneered in peace, justice, security and tranquility,” the official continued.
He further dismissed allegations that the release of the 15 British troops took place in the form of a swap, and underlined, “This was a gift and there is no return for that.”
Elsewhere, the intelligence minister declined to comment on the recent US allegations about the missing of one of its citizens in Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Wednesday issued the required orders for the release of the 15 British troops arrested on March 23rd after trespassing on Iran’s territorial waters.
Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad criticized the militaristic policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and said all the 15 troops, including 8 sailors and 7 British marines, will be released in a bid to show the Iranians’ Islamic kindness.
He said he has issued the order on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of the Prophet of Islam.
Earlier during the same press conference, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad awarded a third degree medal of courage to the commander of Iran’s southwest coast guards, Captain Abol-Ghassem Amangah.
The decision followed the arrest of 15 British troops by Iranian border guards on March 23rd, 2007 after the 8 British sailors and 7 marines trespassed on Iran’s territorial waters.