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Iran Denies Reports of American Arrested as Spy


Iran’s government denied reports that a U.S. woman entered the country and was then arrested on espionage charges, according to the Iranian state-run Arabic- language television network, al-Alam.

Further details weren’t immediately available in the report, which followed accounts today by two Iranian state-run news organizations that said a 55-year-old American woman was arrested in Iran for spying after entering from Armenia.

The Iran newspaper said the woman was found with “spying devices” implanted in her teeth when she was detained in the border town of Nordouz. The woman was arrested a week ago, the Fars news agency reported.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast couldn’t immediately be reached at his office or on his mobile phone for comment. Today is the start of the Iranian weekend. The Armenian Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the reports.

The U.S. was “trying to find out more details, including whether she’s an American citizen,” the deputy State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, wrote in an e-mail before al-Alam carried a denial of the woman’s arrest by Iran.

Two U.S. men have been detained in Iran on espionage charges since July 2009. They were prosecuted for illegally crossing into the country from Iraqi Kurdistan. The U.S. government has said they mistakenly wandered across the border during a hiking trip. Their companion, Sarah Shourd, was freed by Iran in September on bail of $500,000 and left the country.

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