Friday, August 13, 2004

U.S. Citizen woth no Papers Arrested in Iran while walking to Turkey

US News Article | Reuters.com: "Man Claiming to Be U.S. Citizen Arrested in Iran
Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:10 PM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has arrested a man who claims to be a U.S. citizen after he tried to enter the country illegally from one of its eastern neighbors, a senior interior ministry official said on Wednesday.
U.S. visitors to Iran are rare but are not barred from traveling to the Islamic Republic provided they obtain a visa beforehand.

"A person was arrested on the eastern borders who claims to be an American. He doesn't have any identification papers," Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi told Reuters.

Eastern Iran borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Iran maintains a heavy security presence in the region which is a major conduit for opium smugglers and a route often used by al Qaeda and Taliban members fleeing from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Citing an unnamed provincial official in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan state, the ISNA students news agency said the man was detained by security forces on Tuesday after crossing the Pakistani border apparently en route to Turkey.

"It makes no difference to us what nationality he has, the important thing is he entered our soil illegally," the official told ISNA.

Washington severed diplomatic ties with Tehran in 1980 shortly after radical Islamic students seized the U.S. embassy and held 52 hostages for 444 days."

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