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Iran Behind U.K. Hostage Taking in Iraq?

Graeme Moore toasts the release of his son Peter with a cup of tea at his home in Leicester, England, Dec. 30, 2009.
AP Photo/PA
A British spokesman said Thursday that a Briton held hostage for more than two years after being kidnapped in Iraq was at the British Embassy in Baghdad and was preparing to go home soon.

Peter Moore was kidnapped in May 2007 outside the Finance Ministry in Baghdad along with his four bodyguards.

In a rare positive outcome for a foreign hostage held in Iraq, Moore was handed over Wednesday to the British Embassy in Baghdad. The bodyguards who were kidnapped with him are all believed to be dead.

Where he spent his time as a captive, and who was behind the abduction, however, were called into question by a report in The Guardian claiming the Iranian government planned and executed the operation, and that Moore and the bodyguards were moved to the Islamic Republic from Iraq within a day of being seized.

The U.K. newspaper cited "several senior sources in Iran and Iraq," in its report, which it said was based on a year-long investigation.

The report cites former U.S. commander in Iraq David Petraeus as saying he was "90 percent certain" that Moore had been held for at least some period of time inside Iran.

British government officials would not deny the report Thursday, saying only they had "no evidence" that Moore or his bodyguards had been held in Iran.

According to The Guardian, Moore was targeted because he was in the country to help install a system that would monitor Western aid money being funneled to Iran-backed militants operating inside Iraq.

The Guardian claims to have evidence and testimony that proves Iran's elite al Quds force, part of the Revolutionary Guard, were behind the abductions.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office in London said Moore was in good health Thursday.

The spokesman said preparations were in the works to send Moore home "quite soon." He spoke on customary condition of anonymity in keeping with the Foreign Office's practice.