US dismisses 'clumsy' Iran threat of rights trials

July 5, 2011 22:58

WASHINGTON - The United States on Tuesday dismissed an Iranian threat to try US officials in absentia on human rights charges as a clumsy attempt to deflect international attention from Tehran's own rights record.

Iranian lawmaker Esmail Kosari told Iranian newspapers on Monday that some 26 US officials would be tried in absentia and their files passed on to international tribunals.

He did not identify the officials, but it appeared likely they would include the same people listed on a parliamentary bill to be subjected to Iranian sanctions.

They include former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and military commanders at US detention centers Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday that Washington had seen the reports but saw them as nothing more than a diversion.

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