Freed hostage says he wasn't in Iran

Jan. 1, 2010 at 10:09 AM
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LONDON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The British hostage released this week by his Iraqi captors said Iran was not involved in his kidnapping.

Peter Moore, named two locations where he was held during his 2 1/2 years of captivity during a debriefing, The Times of London reported Friday. He also told investigators he last saw the four other men snatched with him about 18 months ago.

Moore's comments bolsters the British Foreign Ministry's stance that it has no evidence indicating Iran was directly involved in the kidnappings or that the hostages were held in Iran, The Times said.

The bodies of three men who were Moore's bodyguards -- Alec MacLachlan, Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell -- were returned to the British authorities last year. Government officials said Moore's testimony didn't change the government's view that a fourth kidnapped bodyguard, Alan McMenemy, also was killed, officials said.

Moore was scheduled to return to Britain Friday.

The Guardian had reported an unnamed member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard told the newspaper the kidnappings in Baghdad were planned by the Revolutionary Guard and the hostages were taken to locations in Iran.

A Foreign Office spokesman said Iran exerts some influence in Iraq, "but we have no evidence to substantiate claims of direct involvement in the kidnapping. We have no evidence that the British hostages ... were held in Iran."

Sheik Jassim al-Saidi, a senior member of Asaib al-Haq, the Shiite group responsible for the kidnappings, also denied Moore was taken to Iran.

"He was not held in Iran, and you can ask the hostage," al-Saidi said. "He knew where he was. He hadn't been in Iran a single day."

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