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Iran Denies Arresting US Woman at Armenian Border

VOA News
06 January 2011

Iran's state television is contradicting previous media reports that Iranian authorities detained an American woman on charges of spying.

Iran's Al-Alam says authorities denied 55-year-old Hall Talayan entry into Iran because she did not have a visa and then she was ordered back to Armenia.

This report directly contradicts other Iranian media sources, which say authorities arrested Talayan about a week ago as she tried to enter the country from Armenia at the Nordouz border town without a visa.

The other Iranian reports said the woman was hiding "spying" equipment, which included a microphone hidden in her teeth.

A U.S. State Department spokesman told VOA the United States is aware of the reports and is looking into them. He said the State Department cannot confirm a arrest or whether the woman is an American citizen.

The spokesman said the U.S. has been in touch about the reports with Swiss authorities, who handle U.S. interests in Tehran. Iran has no diplomatic relations with the United States.

Iran is currently holding Americans Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer on spying charges after the hikers allegedly crossed the border from northern Iraq in July of 2009. In September, Tehran released a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with them on $500,000 bail.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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