American tourists held in Iran
Posted by dorian on August 1, 2009
Iranian authorities have arrested three US tourists who went missing on the Iran-Iraq border.
The two men and a woman, have not been seen since Thursday, when they set off from their Iraq hotel to hike in the mountainous borderlands.
Iranian media reported today that the three were arrested after entering the country.
The border between Kurdish Northern Iraq and Iran is poorly marked and regularly patrolled by the Iranian guard.
According to Qadr Hamajan, a senior security official in the Iraqi city of Suleymaniyeh, the US nationals arrived there with a fourth man on Wednesday.
Three of them left the next day for Ahman Awa, a local tourist resort.
The fourth man, who stayed behind at the hotel because he was ill, later received a telephone call from the others saying they were being held by soldiers.
Qadr Hamajan said: “They phoned their friend and told him ‘we are in trouble and are being held by soldiers who are not speaking Kurdish or Arabic’.
“The Kurdish security authorities are certain that American tourists entered Iran and were arrested there.”
One of the group is believed to be an Arabic speaker but they had no bodyguards or interpreter with them.
An Iranian government source confirmed to the Arabic language state television station al-Alam this afternoon that they had arrested the three Americans, after they entered the country.
The US embassy in Baghdad said it was investigating and the US state department earlier said: “We are using all available means to determine the facts in this case.”