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Iran Official Says Five Military Personnel Are In Jail Abroad, Blames The US

Hossein Naqavi (Naghavi) Hosseini, member of Iranian parliament. Undated. FILE PHOTO

An Iranian lawmaker has quoted a deputy defense minister as saying that more than 30 Iranians "active in military affairs" have been in jail outside Iran, but currently there are five individuals in prison abroad on charges of "military activity."

Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the spokesman for the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, who made the remarks on Monday May 4 did not elaborate on the ranks or positions of the detainees and where they are detained.

However, Naqavi Hosseini said that the five individuals are in jail as a result of "the United States' hostile behavior."

U.S. forces are present in the Persian Gulf region, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the vicinity of Iran so the five Iranians linked to military activities, who might be military personnel, are possibly jailed in one of those countries.

Naqavi Hosseini refused to say in which country they were arrested, what are exactly the charges against them and how many of them have been freed. However, he said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been doing its best to help.

According to the lawmaker, the unidentified deputy defense minister has said that "Around five Iranians have been detained for military and defensive activities with ambiguous charges." However, the Persian term "Asir" he used to describe the five, means prisoner of war.

Last year Iran's Foreign Minister said in a couple of instances that Tehran has presented a list to the US government suggesting a prisoner swap. The Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that "this suggestion is still on the table," which confirms there are US citizens in jail in Iran.

Iran is known for holding dual nationals and foreign citizens in jail as hostages and using them for political gain or prisoner swap.