18:01 GMT28 January 2020
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    U.S. military source confirms arrest of Iranians at checkpoint

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    A U.S. military source confirmed Wednesday that a group of Iranians were detained in Iraq late Tuesday, but said the incident occurred at a checkpoint, contrary to Iranian reports.

    WASHINGTON, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - A U.S. military source confirmed Wednesday that a group of Iranians were detained in Iraq late Tuesday, but said the incident occurred at a checkpoint, contrary to Iranian reports.

    Iran's official news agency IRNA said earlier that a delegation of Iranians, who had traveled to Iraq on the invitation of the Iraqi Energy Ministry to discuss electricity supplies, were arrested at the Sheraton Ishtar Hotel in Baghdad.

    A duty officer at the U.S. command in Baghdad told RIA Novosti: "On the evening of August 28, a group of people in several vehicles attempted to pass through checkpoint No.1 at the Abu Nuwas market in Western Rusafa. When they arrived at the checkpoint for a routine check, some of them were found to be in possession of arms; their vehicles were then searched."

    "The people accompanying the Iranian nationals showed Iraqi Electricity Ministry ID," he said. The group had no licenses for their weapons, which have been confiscated, along with the vehicles' contents pending investigations, he said.

    Iraq's Iraqiya state TV channel said the Iranians were released, after being held for a few hours.

    Iran's IRNA had reported that the group was arrested after U.S. troops surrounded their hotel in Baghdad. Troops searched the delegation's personal belongings, then detained them and took them to an unknown destination, the agency said.

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