Iran buoyed after meeting detainees

BAGHDAD - Iranian diplomats made the first consular visit yesterday to five Iranians detained in Iraq by United States forces since January and Tehran's ambassador described the meeting as a step forward.

The US military says the five are linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards and were backing militants in Iraq. Iran has insisted they are diplomats and demanded they be freed.

Iranian ambassador Hassan Kazemi-Qomi said the meeting was "a step forward and positive". They also asked to talk to two other Iranians taken by American military forces. He did not name the two.

Officials say the death toll from the weekend's truck bomb attack in a market in the northern Iraqi town of Tuz Khurmato may be as high as 150. The confirmed death toll was 130, with 250 wounded.

Emergency services had to dig through rubble to reach the victims, many of whom were women and children.

- REUTERS

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