The Iranians are claiming that the kidnapping was the work of a group linked to Iraq's defence ministry "which works under the supervision of American forces". The American authorities have denied any involvement.
The kidnappers were wearing Iraqi army uniforms (36th Commando Battalion) and there is a possibility that were carrying official Defence Ministry identification.
A senior Iraqi official said that the credentials initially appeared to be genuine but that investigators later received conflicting information about whether the men had been dismissed from the ministry but somehow kept their identification.According to Reuters, six of the kidnappers were caught by the Iraqi police but have since disappeared.
The official said that police close to the scene opened fire on the gunmen and arrested six of them. Later, another security force came to the police station and said they were taking the six to the Serious Crimes building in Baghdad but the police discovered later that they never arrived there.Curiouser and curiouser.
In truth, there's really know way to know what actually happened to Mr Sharifi. There are any number of possibilities and speculating on those possibilities is probably pointless. It is strange that the captured kidnappers seem to have vanished but strange things happen in Iraq every day.
What is clear is that this kidnapping is only going to increase the current extremely high levels of tension between the U.S. and Iranian government's.