May 21st, 2010
12:55 PM ET

Two detained Iranians freed in Iraq

Two Iranians detained for years in Iraq by U.S. troops have been freed and are headed home, officials at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad told CNN on Friday.

The release comes as the mothers of three imprisoned American hikers visit their incarcerated children in Iran. The mothers have been imploring the Iranian regime to release them.

But Iranian officials said the release of the two in Iraq has no connection to the status of the three hikers.

Ahmed Barazandeh was arrested seven years ago by U.S. troops in the Iraqi city of Samarra. He had been traveling from Najaf to Samarra on a religious pilgrimage and was detained after he separated from his group.

The second man - identified by officials at Iran's Baghdad Embassy as Abdullah Maleki and by Iran's Press TV as Ali Abdulmalek - was arrested by U.S. troops more than two years ago because he was not carrying a passport when he entered Iraq.

Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran's ambassador to Iraq, is quoted by Press TV as saying the abductees were arrested on "baseless charges and (for) not carrying passports," he said. The ambassador said both men were on a pilgrimage to Iraqi holy cities when they were seized.

The Iraqi government secured their release from a prison controlled by U.S. forces within the framework of a security agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington in 2008.

The move could be significant because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly called for a swap when asked in a newspaper interview in May about the possible release of the hikers.

Last week, a French woman arrested in Iran on espionage charges was released and an Iranian who had been in a French prison for 19 years was freed. But it is not known whether that was a swap.

Post by:
Filed under: Iran • Iraq
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. herb


    May 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. herb

    The total arrogance of these hikers is indicative of their upbringing. Who teaches their kids to ignore warnings and that it is okay to go hiking in a war zone? Let's see, wealthy enough to fly to the mid east, ignoring warnings, ignoring laws, arrogance in thinking they wouldn't get caught or punished. Sounds like these folks were following Republican guidelines, and unlike those (politicians) in Washington, probably got what they deserved.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barry77

    Iran opportunistically takes hostages based on non-existent or trumped-up charges and then eventually uses them as currency to buy back their criminals who have been caught red-handed.

    May 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jackola

    Don't feel bad for our hikers. They will be released one day sooner or later, then they will write a book and make a few $$$ millions

    May 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mohammad

    I find today's headline on CNN quite Ironic:

    "Tourism's next hot spot: Iraq"

    May 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Benny

    oscar, If bin Laden is alive, it's because they havent wanted him dead yet. I dont care what anyone says, thee is no way he would have survived all these years without SOMEONE telling the U.S where he is. Personally I think they've killed him, but dont want it publically known for two reasons...1) they want to use him for the "fear factor", like a boogie-man. Do you notice that when anything happens in the world, they can say automatically that it's "Al Qaida"?, and of course when the American public thinks of Al Qaida, they think of Bin Laden. If they tell the public that Bin Laden is dead, it will lessen the "moogie man" effect. ....and 2) If they've already killed him, they would keep it a secret from the Muslim population as to not make Bin Laden into a martyre. I believe they simply wanted him to just "silently go away".

    May 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Benny

    L2Read, do you believe everything you read, and only what you read, without thinking about it? the U.S isnt going to admit that it's about the 3 hikers. Iran has wanted the U.S to release their countrymen for many months, and the U.S has refused.... until NOW, at the very time the 3 American moms are in Iran, prob getting ready to come home (with or without their children). Do you really think it has nothing to do with the 3 hikers (just because you read it in our media)? If you believe that, than what many people in the world say about us is true. That most americans are naive. I think anyone who doesnt see the obvious is worse than naive, it's just plain ignorant. (if there's a difference).

    May 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. oscar

    intresting point benny. if BL os dead they probably keep it a secret because a few companies in america are making millions ar the expense of the lives of our troops. i have to uncles that have r serving ib iraq and afghan and it makes mw mad that this has become a never ending war....

    May 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Benny

    Yep, that's what i think. I also home those 3 come home soon, but I cant really say I feel sorry for them. What they did was really idiotic, and it was a hard lesson to learn. From what I'v read, they seem to be very liberal (of course coming from burkley), and while travelling in iran, they would tell people how "ashamed" they were of what America did to their country. i'm not saying their wrong, to a degree, but they seem like the type to only blame "our" country, and not blame Saddam and the other Iraqis themselves. They just seem the type of liberals that would go around with their heads in the clouds, thinking if they preached love and peace and passed flowers around to everyone, it would protect them from harm. "yea we're against american imperialism, we're on your side, nothing bad could happen to us". They were warned to NOT go near the border and they did it anyway. I hope it was a wake-up call.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roberts Richard

    Barry77 the were not trumped up charges they actually crossed over the Iranian border which is a crime you can be jailed for in Iran just like in the Country of Arizona . (sarcasm meant here for those with out a sense of humor)

    May 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Benny

    oscar, i cant argue about that. (people making money off of war). After the cold-war, we needed another enemy to fight, and this "war on terror" is the new enemy. They can basically use anyone (and anywhere) now, as our new enemy. Now i fear Iran will be next. Even if Iran DID comply with everything the U.N demands, we will always say it's not enough. They will weaken Iran with sanctions and eventually there may be a public uprising in Iran, or military action (or both), but somehow there will be a regime change. it's about dominance, and the protection of Isreal (in that region). Any country that defies the U.S will be a target. Although I dont think they're worried about n.Korea, but Iran has influence over there with the U.S doesnt like, so they would rather have a U.S friendly govt in Iran.

    May 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Benny

    OOps, in one of my other posts, i said "and while travelling in iran". but i meant Iraq. And what were they doing in that region anyway? If i were Iranian, i'd prob also think they may be spies, and we cant be 100% sure they werent up to something "no good".

    May 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Benny

    Roberts Richard, yea in the country of AZ, if you're illegal, they CAN put you in jail, just as they do in mexico, when someone south of their border goes there illegally (or they just shot them). LEts keep defending the Illegals, until we are anothr mexico. Have you been there? I really want American parents sending our children to the Canadian border, crying and begging for money, because we're too poor to sustain OURSELVES", and even the police will be so poor, all we'll have to do in give them a $20 in order for them to let us go, hell, that way we can all save money on speeding tickets and avoid court costs .. I think anyone who defends these "illegals" should be required to have 3 in your home, to take anything from your fridge, sleep in your bed, all while you pay all the bills. That way it will not be everyone elses problem. .. Sarcastic 🙂

    May 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Benny

    Roberts Richard, or maybe you were really just being sarcastic. So my post was for others, who really are new-aged, bleeding heard, overly sensitive, feminized liberals 🙂 sorry man

    May 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
1 2