Sarah Shourd speaks to the media, in Oakland, California  (File Photo)
Sarah Shourd speaks to the media, in Oakland, California (File Photo)

An American hiker arrested and released by Tehran says she and her two companions entered Iran accidentally, because of a border guard.

Sarah Shourd tells The New York Times the three Americans were hiking on a path in Iraqi Kurdistan when a border guard of unknown nationality gestured for them to approach.

She says once they reached the guard, he pointed to the ground and said "Iran," and then pointed to the path they had come from and said "Iraq."

Shourd says she and her friends were "confused and worried and wanted to go back."

Instead, Iranian forces arrested Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal and charged them with spying.

Iran released Shourd last month on $500,000 bail.

The three Americans are due to stand trial in Iran later this month.

Shourd said she contacted the Times to clarify her version of events.

She said previous news reports that claimed Iran had forced the U.S. hikers across the border were false.

Shourd also said the hikers were not aware they were in an area adjacent to Iran, saying she and her friends were "extremely unlucky."

Tehran's prosecutor has said Shourd agreed to return to Iran to stand trial, and that he will seize her $500,000 bail if she fails to defend herself in court.

Iran's state-run media have said the American hikers will plead not guilty when their trial begins.

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