Ahmadinejad calls on US to free Iranians as humanitarian gesture

Ahmadinejad called on the United States to release eight Iranians who he said were being held illegally, noting that his country made a humanitarian gesture last week.

Ahmadinejad calls on US to free Iranians as humanitarian gesture

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday called on the United States to release eight Iranians who he said were being held illegally, noting that his country made a humanitarian gesture last week in releasing an American woman held since July 2009.

Ahmadinejad, who arrived in New York on Sunday to attend the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, also played down the impact of sanctions imposed by the international community on Iran over its nuclear activities.

Iran on Sept. 14 released Sarah Shourd, 32, one of three Americans held in Iran for more than a year on suspicion of spying. She arrived back in the United States on Sunday.

Ahmadinejad, speaking through a translator in an interview on the ABC program "This Week," called her release a huge humanitarian gesture.

"So I believe that it would not be misplaced to ask that the U.S. government should take a humanitarian gesture to release the Iranians who were illegally arrested and detained here in the United States," Ahmadinejad said, referring to eight Iranians without naming them.

Ahmadinejad was one of several foreign leaders to hold separate meetings with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his ABC interview, Ahmadinejad played down the impact of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities.

"We do take sanctions seriously, but taking it seriously is different from believing that they are effective. These are two different issues," added Ahmadinejad.


Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2010, 16:29
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