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Tehran: Iran sought extradition of Sydney hostage taker

"Since we did not have an agreement on the extradition of criminals with Australia, the Australian police refused to extradite him," Iranian police Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam told reporters following the identification of Sydney hostage taker Man Haron Monis.

By JC Finley

TEHRAN, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- In the aftermath of a deadly siege on a Sydney cafe, Iran says it sought the extradition of the hostage taker -- identified as Iranian native Man Haron Monis -- 14 years ago but that Australia had denied the request.

Monis, known in Iran as Manteqi, was wanted by Iranian officials on charges of fraud while the manager of a travel agency in 1996. "He then fled to Malaysia and from there, to Australia under a fake name," Iranian police Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam told reporters.

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"Since we did not have an agreement on the extradition of criminals with Australia, the Australian police refused to extradite him."

While in Australia, Monis became well known to authorities. The self-proclaimed cleric's criminal record included charges that he penned poisonous letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers between 2007 and 2009, a 2013 charge for accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and 50 recent charges of indecent and sexual assault.

Monis was out on bail when he stormed the Lindt Cafe Monday morning.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran for over two decades has been asking Australian officials via Interpol to hand over the culprit to the Iranian police but eventually met with the decision of the Australian government to grant asylum to him," an analyst for the Islamic Republic News Agency wrote Tuesday. "Even after his involvement in a murder case, the Sydney police let him free."

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Monis was killed when police ended the 17-hour standoff in the early hours of Tuesday. Two hostages, Katrina Dawson, 38, and Tori Johnson, 34, were pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital.

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