Moore, Other Four British Hostages Were Held in Iran

The five men abducted from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007 were reportedly taken to Iran merely a day after their kidnapping and were held there by the al-Quds brigade of the Guard, said media reports.

The Guardian quoted an unnamed former Revolutionary Guard as saying: “It was an Iranian kidnap, led by the Revolutionary Guard, carried out by the al-Quds brigade.

“My contact works for al-Quds. He took part in the planning of the kidnap and he watched the kidnapping as it was taking place. He told me that they spent two days at the Qasser Shiereen camp. They then took them deep inside Iran.”

Also, the paper quoted a serving Iraqi government minister – who links to Iran – as saying: “This was an IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) operation. You don’t think for a moment that those militia groups from Sadr City could have carried out a high-level kidnapping like this one.”

Till last month, British Foreign Office authorities suspected that Peter Moore, who was released yesterday, was being held in Iran. The hostages were employed on a project to install software capable to track money movement within the ministry.

Intelligence officials looked into allegations that new equipment would unearth a practice through which Shia officials routinely diverted funds to Iranian security forces in return for arming and training militants.

“That they were held in Iran is a possibility given the lack of leads about their whereabouts in Iraq even after the security forces became more effective,” one British diplomat was quoted as saying by the paper.

However, the Foreign Office has been blamed for overlooking proof of an Iranian link to the kidnapping. A security consultant for the firm for which the security guards worked divulged last night that it had submitted phone records that showed that one of the mens mobile had been utilized to text Iranian phones after the kidnapping.

According to him, the evidence amounted to intelligence that should have been used to track the group.

“When we took the records to the Foreign Office there was almost stony silence. Certainly a feeling initially from our side that this was something that had been missed,” said Paul Wood, head of security at Kroll told Channel 4 News.

The Foreign Office played down suggestions that the men had been held in Iran.

A spokesman said: “We have no evidence that the British hostages, including Peter Moore, were held in Iran. We are not in a position to say with any certainty where they were held during each and every single day of their two and a half years in captivity.”

Moore, 36, was released early on Wednesday, after enduring an ‘unspeakable two and a half years of misery, fear and uncertainty’, according to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary.

“Peter was set free by his captors this morning in Baghdad and delivered to the Iraqi authorities. He is now in the care of the British embassy in Baghdad.

“He’s in a remarkable frame of mind given the two and a half years that he has had,” Miliband said.

Since the five men were kidnapped, the bodies of three of the bodyguards, Jason Swindlehurst, 38, Jason Creswell, 39 and Alex MacLachlan have been handed over. The fourth bodyguard, Alan McMenemy, is also believed to be dead.

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