(AFP) – May 7, 2010
WASHINGTON — The United States said Friday that a senior US diplomat renewed calls for the release of all Americans held in Iran, when he met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at a dinner in New York.
Alejandro Wolff, the deputy permanent US representative to the United Nations, made the plea during the dinner at the Iranian UN ambassador's residence, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
"He (Wolff) did both... stress that the United States... continues to have concerns about the welfare of our citizens who are in Iranian custody," Crowley told reporters.
"He shared with Foreign Minister Mottaki some letters from family members... and stressed again that we would like to see these individuals released," the US spokesman said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeatedly called for Iran to release all Americans held in Iran, including three American hikers captured in July 2009.
Clinton met last week for a second time with the families of the hikers amid concern over the health of the detainees, who have not been formally charged by Iran.
Hikers Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested last July 31 after straying across the border during a hiking trip in Iraq's Kurdistan region.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi charged in early April that the three were working with intelligence services.
Washington also wants the release of US citizens Reza Taghavi and Kian Tajbakhsh, and remains concerned about the fate of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing during a visit to Iran in 2007.
Iran alleges that 11 Iranians are "illegally" detained in the United States, including nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who went missing in Saudi Arabia while on pilgrimage to Mecca last year.
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