Thursday, October 04, 2007

US General: Arrested Iranian an Intelligence Agent

BAGHDAD -- An Iranian arrested by US forces in Iraq’sKurdish region had been involved in Teheran’s intelligence operations in Iraq for more than a decade, an American general said on Wednesday.

‘Multiple sources’ had also implicated him in providing weapons to ‘Iraqi criminal elements in the service of Iran,’ US military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner told a news conference in Baghdad.

On September 20, US troops raided a hotel in Sulaimaniyah in the autonomous northern autonomous region and seized Mahmudi Farhadi, claiming he was a member of the Quds Force, the covert operations arm of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

Iran condemned what it called the ‘unwarranted’ arrest of a businessman it said was in Iraq at the invitation of the Kurdish regional government, and lodged a strong protest with the authorities in Baghdad.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has slammed the arrest as illegal and demanded Farhadi’s release.

And on September 24, Iran shut its frontiers with Iraq in protest, causing mayhem at the border and major economic losses to traders in the Kurdish region.

Bergner insisted on Wednesday that the detainee was a Quds Force operative.

‘Farhadi was the officer in charge of the Zafar command, one of three subordinates of the Ramazan core of the Quds Force,’ Bergner said.

‘As Zafar commander, he was responsible for Quds Force operations in north-central Iraq, including cross border transfers of weapons, people and money.

‘We also know that for more than a decade he was involved in Iranian intelligence operations in Iraq,’ he added, without elaborating.

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