Iranian TV confirms arrest of three Americans

CAIRO, Egypt — Iranian state TV on Saturday confirmed the arrests of three Americans who crossed into Iran from northern Iraq.

A Kurdish official told McClatchy Friday that the three Americans are tourists who mistakenly ended up in Iran while hiking in a mountainous area near the border with the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Their identities haven't been released. The scenic area, near the town of Ahmed Awaa, is popular as a hiking and tourism destination.

The Iranian state-owned al Alam station, which broadcasts in Arabic, cited an interior ministry official as saying that the Americans were arrested after they failed to heed the warnings of border guards.

"We have seen Iranian media reports stating that the three American citizens have been detained in Iran," said State Department deputy spokesman Robert A. Wood. "We have asked our Swiss protecting power to confirm these reports with Iranian authorities and, if true, to seek consular access."

In the absence of U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations, which ended in 1980 during the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the Swiss embassy oversees the consular needs of Americans in Iran.


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Read what McClatchy's Iraqi staff has to say at Inside Iraq