August 05, 2009 10:06
An Iranian official says authorities are interrogating three Americans detained Friday on charges of entering Iran from Iraq without permission.
Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency Tuesday quotes a deputy governor of Iran's Kordestan province Iraj Hassanzadeh as saying the three have not confessed to any crime. They were arrested near the Iranian border town of Marivan.
Iranian television has described the three Americans as spies. The head of security in northern Iraq's Kurdish region Hakem Qadir says the three were traveling through northern Iraq and apparently ventured into Iran when they went on a hike to see a waterfall near the border.
A U.S. State Department spokesman told reporters Tuesday the U.S. is still awaiting official confirmation that Iran is holding the Americans.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the United States is working through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to obtain information about the three tourists and bring them home. The United States and Iran do not have diplomatic ties.
Kurdish authorities in Iraq say the border with Iran is not clearly marked in the area where the Americans were arrested. They say at least two of the travelers had been studying Arabic in Syria, and that they had entered Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region from Turkey.
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