Three American tourists, reported to have infiltrated into its border with Iraq, have been arrested by Iran, state-owned Al-Alam television said in the country’s first confirmation of the incident.
“An informed Iranian source confirmed the arrest of three Americans after they infiltrated through the Iraqi border,” the Arabic-language television station reported.
A Kurdish official, northern Iraq, said earlier that three US backpackers, after having been warned on the Iraqi side not to hike in the mountains because of the closeness with Iranian border, were arrested after breaching the warning.
According to Beshro Ahmed, media adviser for general security in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, the two men and a woman had entered from Turkey earlier along with a fourth American who did not join the trek because he was ill.
According to CNN, Iran detained the three US nationals on Friday after they crossed into the country from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Ahmed named the three as Shane Bower, Sara Short and Joshua Steel, while Shaun Gabriel Maxwell stayed behind in their hotel in the Kurdish region’s second largest city of Sulaimaniyah.