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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's judiciary will make the final decision regarding three detained U.S. citizens charged with espionage, Tehran's chief public prosecutor was quoted as saying Tuesday.
Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, who last week announced the charges against Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, did not say when the decision may be announced.
The three were held after they strayed into Iran from northern Iraq at the end of July. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Washington "strongly" believed there was no evidence to support any charges against them.
Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency said it asked Dolatabadi about foreign media "fuss" regarding the case.
"The judiciary authorities will announce the final decision regarding the three U.S. citizens," Dolatabadi said.
Under Iran's Islamic law, sharia, espionage can be punishable by death.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested in an interview with the American television network NBC in September that the Americans' release might be linked to the release of Iranian diplomats he said were being held by U.S. troops in Iraq.
Some Iranian authorities have linked the illegal entry of the Americans, to unrest that erupted after Iran's June presidential election. The detainees' families say they crossed the border by accident.
Ahmadinejad's re-election on June 12 sparked Iran's worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Authorities deny vote-rigging and portrayed the unrest as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic state.
(Reporting by Ramin Mostafavi, Writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Matthew Jones)

Reuters