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Iran to decide on detained Americans

Story Highlights

• Reports: Decision on detained Iranian-Americans by week's end
• Tehran wants five Iranians captured in a raid by U.S. military in Iraq released
• Iran said the raid was a "violation of international conventions"
• A retired FBI agent has been missing in Iran since March 8
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- As Tehran presses for the release of five Iranians held by the U.S. military in Iraq, Iran's top judiciary spokesman announced Tuesday that three detained Iranian-Americans will be formally indicted or freed by the end of the week, according to Iranian media reports.

So far, the two issues have remained separate although questions have arisen as to whether the Tehran regime's recent clamp-down on Iranians with dual American citizenship is an attempt to broker the release of the five men that Tehran says are Iranian diplomats.

The U.S. military has accused the men of having ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard-Quds Force, which the United States says is providing weapons and funding to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Iran's Ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi-Qomi held out the possibility of talks between the United States and Iran on the issue of the five detainees.

In an interview with CNN last month, former U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the detained Iranians will be dealt with "just like anybody else who has broken the law."

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran "will make the Americans sorry for this ugly and illegal act," Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Mottaki pledged to send a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the coming days, criticizing the U.N. Security Council for its indifference and "indefensible" inaction in dealing with the five Iranians, who were detained January 11 in Irbil, an Iraqi Kurdish city near the Iranian border.

Iran complained to the United Nations that the raid was carried out in "clear violation of international conventions" because it took place at an Iranian consulate.

The United States maintains its forces raided an Iranian liaison office that does not have the same diplomatic status as a consulate.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to call on Iran to release the three detained Iranian-Americans and a fourth who has had her passport revoked.

"The Iranians are holding people and trying people who have done nothing except try and make Iran a more open and better place, in some cases just went to visit their families," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday.

In addition, Robert Levinson, an American and retired FBI agent, has been missing since March 8, when he was last seen on Iran's Kish Island.

Washington's attempts to obtain information have been hampered by the lack of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Tehran contributed to this report.



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