The American military is holding four Iranians in Iraq, including senior military officials, who were detained in raids last week aimed at people suspected of attacks on Iraqi security forces, a report here said on Monday.
The administration of President George W Bush made no public announcement of the seizure of the Iranians, though in response to specific questions the White House confirmed on Sunday that the Iranians were in custody, The New York Times reported citing unnamed senior Iraqi and US officials in Baghdad and Washington.
Gordon Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said two Iranian diplomats were among those initially detained in the raids, the report said.
The two had papers showing that they were accredited to work in Iraq, and he said they were turned over to the Iraqi authorities and released, the paper said.
A group of other Iranians, including the military officials, remained in custody while an investigation continued, and he said, "We continue to work with the government of Iraq on the status of the detainees."
One official said that "a lot of material" was seized in the raid, but would not say if it included arms or documents that pointed to planning for attacks.
The two raids conducted in central Baghdad have deeply upset Iraqi government officials, who have been making strenous efforts to engage Iran on matters of security.