US disputes arrest of spy suspect by IranBy DPA, IANS
Saturday, January 8, 2011
WASHINGTON/TEHRAN - The US State Department disputed the reported arrest of an American woman in Iran after Iranian authorities claimed she was detained in Iran this week on suspicion of spying was caught filming in a border town.
“We have located the US citizen who appears to have been the subject of the reports and confirmed that the individual is safe,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told Politico newspaper.
Deputy border police chief Ahmad Geravand said 34-year-old Hal T. was arrested Jan 5 in the northwestern border town of Jolfa while filming with her video camera.
The police official claimed she had entered Iran on a tourist visa but was working for the US Central Intelligence Agency. He gave no further details of the charges.
Fars news agency and the governmental newspaper Iran reported the arrest Thursday, but said the woman was 55 and was apprehended without a visa at Nourdooz on the border with Armenia.
According to Fars, the woman also told Iranian officials that if she were returned to Armenia, Armenian security agencies would kill her.
Armenia denied such a person had ever entered Armenia and the US also said it had no record of the woman on the State Department data base.
If the woman had come to Iran via Jolfa, then it would mean she had been in the Republic of Azerbaijan or the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.