Iran sent US 'spy' back to Armenia

2011-01-06 20:35
Tehran - A US woman reported by media to be a suspected spy was refused entry at a border crossing with Armenia over a visa problem a week ago, Iran's Al-Alam television reported on Thursday, citing a security source.

That contradicted earlier media reports that she had been arrested.

Al-Alam said: "The American woman was not able to enter Iran.

"She approached the border guards, but as she did not have a visa, she was not authorised to enter Iran. She was sent back to Armenia."

Earlier in the day, Fars news agency reported that Iranian officials had arrested an American woman on spying charges after she had tried to enter the country from Armenia "with spying equipment in her teeth."

Fars, quoting an unnamed source, reported: "About a week ago an American spy woman whose name is said to be Hal Talayan was arrested by customs officials at Nordouz border area in the East Azarbaijan province.

"The 55-year-old woman was arrested while she entered Iran from Armenia without a visa and had placed spying equipment in her teeth," the report said, without elaborating.

"This American spy said after the arrest that she would be killed by Armenian security forces if Iran handed her over," Fars said.

There has been no official confirmation of any version of the story, which was first reported by a little known conservative news website Nasimonline.ir, without naming any sources on Wednesday.

Its unsourced, unconfirmed report was carried by several Iranian newspapers on Thursday morning.

If confirmed, the woman would have been the fourth American to be arrested by Iran on spying charges along with hikers Sarah Shourd, 32, Shane Bauer, 28 and Josh Fattal, 28.

The three insist they innocently strayed across the border when they were detained on July 31, 2009 during a hike in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on July 31 2009.

While Shourd was released on humanitarian grounds last year , Iranian authorities have not dropped the case against her.

Officials have set February 6 as a trial date for all three hikers.

Read more on:    iran  |  security
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