Americans held for 'illegal entry'

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The Independent Online

Iran said yesterday that three Americans who strayed across the border from Iraq are under arrest for illegal entry and claimed that the West was using the case for propaganda.

State media cast doubt on whether they were really hikers who lost their way, saying that Western reports had identified some as journalists. Shane Bauer, a freelance journalist and photographer, Joshua Fattal and a woman that media reports have identified as Sarah Shourd were hiking on 31 July along the mountainous border area between Iraq's northern Kurdish region and Iran. They wandered across the frontier, which is not clearly marked, and were detained.

Swiss diplomats have been trying to obtain details from Iran on behalf of Washington, which does not have diplomatic relations with Tehran.