Iran says it suspects two foreigners who were arrested as they were interviewing the son of a woman sentenced to death by stoning have links to foreign anti-government groups.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says the two entered Iran with tourist visas and not journalist visas. In a Tuesday briefing, he also said some "sources" had indicated the detainees are German. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country's Foreign Ministry is attempting to get details about the two detainees.
On Monday, Iran reported the two foreigners were arrested while asking questions about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Her stoning sentence on an adultery conviction generated international outrage. Since July, Iranian officials have said her stoning sentence has been stayed.
German media reports have said the two are journalists who work for the weekly Bild am Sonntag, but the newspaper said Monday it had no information regarding the arrests of any employees in Iran.
Also Monday, Spain's El Pais newspaper said Iran had canceled the accreditation of its Tehran correspondent and ordered her to leave the country within two weeks. The leading Spanish daily said Angeles Espinosa had been given no official explanation, but the decision appeared to be linked to an interview she conducted in July with the son of the late dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. El Pais has also campaigned for Ashtiani.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.