Iran confirms 3 Americans detained on Iran-Iraq border 2009-08-04 17:44:16   Print

    TEHRAN, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian official on Tuesday confirmed three U.S. nationals have been detained by Iranian forces near the border with Iraq, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

    The three people "were arrested on Malakh-Khor border near the town of Marivan," which borders Iraq's Kurdish area, said Iraj Hassanzadeh, deputy governor of Iran's Kurdistan province.

    The three "middle-aged" Americans were traveling on Syrian and Iraqi visas, Hassanzadeh said, noting that all those who try to "illegally" enter Iran will be arrested.

    However, U.S. media have said the three people -- Shane Bauer, Sara Shourd and Joshua Fattal -- are all in their mid-20s.

    Iran's Arabic-language satellite channel Al-Alam quoted Hassanzadeh as saying that the three Americans "were detained four days ago" and "are being questioned."

    An Iraqi Kurdish security official said on Saturday in a statement that the three Americans were "tourists who visited Ahmed Awa area at the town of Halabja in the (Iraqi) province of Sulaimaniyah."

    They were arrested by Iranian forces "after they crossed the border with Kurdistan region to Iran due to their little knowledge about the area," the statement said.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged Iran to provide information about the three missing Americans.

    Speaking to reporters in Washington, Clinton asked Iran to give whereabouts of the three Americans and "return them as quickly as possible."

    The United States has earlier asked Switzerland, which represents American interests in Iran, to confirm reports that the detention of three American nationals at the Iran-Iraq border region.

Editor: Xiong Tong
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