Iran Releases 'Last Dispatch of Iraqi POWs'
Iran on Thursday released a first batch of a total of 728 Iraqi POWs that Tehran says are the last such prisoners held in Iran since the Iran-Iraq war between 1980-1988, since Iran state radio reported.
It said 357 Iraqis were released earlier Thursday while another 371 will be freed later Thursday in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah on the border with Iraq.
The release, which took place under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross, will bring the number of Iraqi POWs sent home by Tehran this year to over 4,000.
On Wednesday, Tehran said the prisoners are the "last remaining", 12 years after the war ended.
But Iraq accuses Iran of still detaining some 29,000, with another 60,000 listed as missing. Meanwhile, Tehran says 3,206 POWs are still held in Iraq, which Iraq denies.
The dispute over POWs is a key stumbling block to normalizing ties between the two countries, whose eight-year war left hundreds of thousands dead and maimed on both sides – TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)