- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

TEHRAN — An Iranian diplomat showed off wounds on his feet yesterday, and said they were inflicted by drills during two months of detention in Iraq that included harsh interrogation by an American official.

The U.S. has denied any role in the capture of Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, who was seized by gunmen in Baghdad on Feb. 4. Tehran has said he was taken by an Iraqi military unit commanded by U.S. forces — an accusation repeated by several Iraqi Shi’ite lawmakers.

The comments by Mr. Sharafi were made as Iran stepped up complaints over its personnel detained in Iraq, hinting that it might boycott an international conference on Iraq unless U.S. forces release five Iranians detained in a January raid.

Mr. Sharafi, speaking to reporters in his first appearance since his release April 3, said he was taken by men who at first pretended to be militants but later told him they were with Iraqi intelligence.

Sitting in a wheelchair and speaking in a weak voice, Mr. Sharafi showed reporters nine partially healed holes in his ankle and foot he said were caused by a drill. Shi’ite militiamen — some connected to Iraqi security forces — have been known to torture captives with drills.

“They tied my feet and hands and lashed my soles hundreds of times with cables and kicked and punched me,” said Mr. Sharafi, who also showed traces of slash marks on his back. “They performed mock executions while my eyes were blindfolded and my hands and feet were bound.”

He said the drill torture occurred early in his captivity, and beatings took place throughout.

Dr. Ali Sharifi, a psychiatrist, said Mr. Sharafi showed symptoms of sensory and sleep deprivation.

Peter G. Stocker, an official from the International Committee of the Red Cross who examined Mr. Sharafi yesterday, told the Associated Press his wounds “happened during his detention.” Mr. Stocker could not say who caused them.

Mr. Sharafi said he was questioned several times by an American who told him “he was in charge of my case and was in direct contact with the American Embassy.”

“The English-speaking man threatened to kill me by bites of wild dogs,” said the 40-year-old diplomat, referring to the American. “The American began with a soft attitude at first. But he turned harsh when he could not get any cooperation from me.”

Mr. Sharafi said his captors questioned him about the other five detained Iranians and asked him what groups Iran supports. “They wanted me to confess that Iran intervenes in Iraq’s domestic affairs and was a threat to the countries of the region,” he said.

On Saturday, Iranian state TV quoted Mr. Sharafi as saying the CIA was involved in his interrogation. He did not specify CIA involvement in his comments yesterday.

U.S. Embassy officials in Baghdad did not immediately answer calls seeking comment yesterday.

Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said Saturday that “the United States had nothing to do with Mr. Sharafi’s detention, and we welcome his return to Iran.”

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