Alleged US spy in Iran returns to Armenia: reportBy DPA, IANS
Sunday, January 9, 2011
TEHRAN - Confusing and contradictory reports on an American woman arrested by Iran on charges of spying continued Sunday after an Iranian security official announced that she had left the country, apparently travelling to Armenia.
State media had reported Thursday that 55-year-old Hal T. had been arrested last week at the Iranian-Armenian border crossing of Nourdooz without a visa but with “espionage devices”, including a microphone in her teeth.
But Saturday, deputy border police chief Ahmad Geravand said the woman was 34 years old and had been arrested Dec 5 in the Iranian-Azerbaijani border town of Jolfa while filming with her video camera.
According to Geravand, the woman was a CIA agent working under cover and had already confessed to espionage operations.
Sunday, the unnamed security official from the north-western Iranian province of Azerbaijan told the state television network IRIB’s website that the woman had never entered Iran but had been waiting for a visa to enter Iran via Armenia and the Nourdooz crossing.
While denying the espionage charges and video filming in Jolfa, the official said that “after the relevant legal procedures,” she had left the Nourdooz Saturday, apparently back to Armenia.
The US State Department Saturday disputed the reported arrest of the American woman.
“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.
Armenia had earlier denied such a person had ever entered Armenia and the US had at first said it had no record of the woman on the State Department database.