Swiss diplomats see US detainees in Iran

The Swiss ambassador and other Swiss diplomats on Tuesday visited three Americans who have been held in Iran for nearly two months.

This content was published on September 29, 2009 - 21:10

A spokesman for the foreign ministry confirmed the visit to the Swiss news agency.

The three Americans – two men and a woman - were detained when they crossed into Iran over the partially unmarked border with Iraqi Kurdistan on July 31. Since their arrest, their families have had no contact with them.

The Iranians only informed the US authorities just over a month ago that three were indeed being held.

Switzerland represents US interests in Iran, since Washington has not had formal diplomatic relations with the country for nearly 30 years.

Earlier on Tuesday the US State Department had announced that the Swiss were to be given access to the detainees. A spokesman said it was not, however, clear whether the decision indicated that the three would soon be allowed to contact their families.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, told the AP news agency last week that he would ask the judiciary to speed up their investigation, and to look at the case "with maximum leniency".

However, in an interview with the NBC television network, he linked their release to that of Iranian diplomats he said were being held by US forces in Iraq.

Contacted by news agencies, the Swiss foreign ministry gave no further details. A spokesman referred callers to the State Department. and agencies

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