Swiss request access to US hikers held in Iran

The Swiss embassy in Tehran has requested consular access to three American hikers captured after they crossed Iraq's northern border and into Iran.

This content was published on August 2, 2009 - 15:04

Nadine Olivieri, a spokeswoman for the Swiss foreign ministry, told swissinfo.ch on Sunday that officials were "trying to obtain confirmation of the situation".

Iranian state television confirmed on Saturday that the three had been captured on Friday after wandering into the Islamic Republic from Iraq's Kurdish region.

US Department of State spokesman Robert Wood on Saturday said that the Swiss had been asked to secure access to the three. The two men and one woman are reportedly students between the ages of 27 and 36.

"We have asked our Swiss protecting power to confirm these reports with Iranian authorities and, if true, to seek consular access," Wood said.

The US does not have formal diplomatic ties with Iran. Switzerland has been representing US interests in the Islamic Republic since 1980.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not discuss the issue when they met on Friday, the foreign ministry said.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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