News / Middle East

Iran Spokesman Repeats Allegations Against US Hikers

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast during a press conference in Tehran (File Photo)
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast during a press conference in Tehran (File Photo)

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says three American hikers detained by Tehran for a year are being investigated for breaching the security of the Islamic Republic. The charges appear to be in response to recent U.S. pleas they be released.

Iran is repeating charges three young American hikers entered the country illegally last year and should stand trial for doing so. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast alluded to previous allegations the three were "spies", claiming they may have "intentionally" harmed Iranian security.

He also denounced what he called "political pressure" and "media shenanigans" in reference to recent demonstrations to release the hikers in a number of U.S. and European cities.

Iranian government radio also quoted Mehmanparast as saying the United States is holding "significant numbers" of Iranians in its prisons for what he called "politically motivated" offenses.

In an interview last year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded the United States "trade" the three hikers for Iranian prisoners he said it holds. The United states has denied holding any Iranians for "political" offenses.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to free the three hikers. Clinton said Tehran should "do the right thing" and release them, and called the first anniversary of their capture a "tragic" moment.

The mothers of the three hikers, Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, led a weekend demonstration in New York to protest their children's capture by Iranian border-guards on July 31, 2009. Iran claims the hikers entered its territory, but several Kurdish eyewitnesses say they were captured in Iraq.

Nora Shourd, who is the mother of hiker Sarah Shourd, complained during a public protest near the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York that Iranian officials are playing hard to get:

"This is the Iranian Mission, the Iranian Ambassador is up there somewhere," she said. "It has been very difficult for us all along to talk to anyone in the Iranian government, impossible. This is as close as we can get."

Cindy Hickey, mother of hiker Shane Bauer, made a more emotional appeal to Iranian leaders, asking them to "open their hearts" and not to act for "political" reasons:

"This is an unjust detention. You have nothing on our children. There [have] been no charges," she said. "Everything is being dealt with in a very unjust way. We want you to open your hearts, release our kids and get them out of politics."

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman appeared to answer them in his remarks, insisting Iran has "no diplomatic relations with the United States," but that the three were "being treated humanely" and in accordance with "international norms." The mothers of the hikers deny those claims, saying they have been held without being charged and without being able to consult their attorneys.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More