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Iranian TV: Diplomat tortured by U.S. troops

Story Highlights

• Iran's Foreign Ministry report backs diplomat's claim of torture, according to IRNA
• Iranian ambassador to Iraq says he was abducted, then tortured by the CIA
• The CIA and U.S. military deny the accusations
• The diplomat, Jalal Sharafi, says he was taken hostage at gunpoint
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- The Iranian government found that Iran's ambassador to Iraq was tortured by "American troops," Iran's state-run television reported on Wednesday.

Jalal Sharafi -- the second secretary of Iran's embassy in Iraq -- says he was taken by unidentified gunmen February 4 in front of a branch of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli in central Baghdad's Karrada district. He was freed last week.

"Multi-National Force-Iraq had no involvement in his kidnapping or any aspect of his being held," U.S. Gen. George Casey said on February 9. (Full story)

On Saturday, Sharafi held a news conference in Tehran saying he was tortured by CIA agents. The CIA denied the accusations. (Full story)

The claim that U.S. personnel tortured him was made in a report released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department, which Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency on Wednesday posted on its Web site.

The torture of Sharafi was "confirmed based on evidence on Tuesday" when he "was visited" at a Tehran hospital by an International Committee of the Red Cross representative and the Iraqi ambassador to Iran, according to the report, IRNA said.

"Signs of torture are evident all over his body," IRNA quoted the report as saying.

The two visitors -- Peter Stocker of the Red Cross and Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Majid al-Sheikh -- "saw serious wounds on Sharafi's body as a result of his tortures by his captors," IRNA reported.

"A report by his physician confirmed that during medical examinations cases of serious injuries were clearly visible on the diplomat's body, including holes caused by a drill, fractures in his nose and neck, deep wounds on his back, bleeding of his digestive system and his perforated eardrum," according IRNA's Web site.

Sharafi told Stocker and the Iraqi ambassador that "during the first 15 days of his captivity, he underwent 'heinous tortures' such as drilling holes into his foot," IRNA reported.

Iraq's deputy foreign minister, Labid Abawi, had said Sharafi was seized by unknown gunmen two months ago. Sharafi's kidnappers were wearing uniforms similar to those of Iraqi security forces, according to Iran's Students News Agency.

However, in an article published Saturday on the Fars news agency Web site, Sharafi says he was shopping in Baghdad when he was "kidnapped by some agents who used U.S. vehicles and who showed me identification cards of the Iraqi Defense Ministry."

"They took me to a base around Baghdad airport," Sharafi said, adding that while he was there, he was "interrogated by Arab and English speaking agents."

The diplomat on Saturday said the CIA agents questioned him about Iran's presence and influence in Iraq, and the extent of Iran's assistance to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's administration and to Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish groups, Fars quoted Sharafi as saying.

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver told CNN last weekend that the U.S. military did not have any role in finding or releasing Sharafi, but would have provided assistance if it had been requested.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini has said that those responsible for the abduction "acted under U.S. supervision."

Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi, left, is welcomed home to Tehran by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday.

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