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(CNN) — Three American tourists are reported in Iranian custody after they may have strayed across the border from Iraq during a mountain hike, Kurdish officials told CNN Friday.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said it was checking into the reports but could not confirm them.
A senior Kurdish official told CNN that four U.S. tourists had entered Kurdistan in northern Iraq from Turkey, staying in Sulaimaniya for about two nights. Three of the tourists traveled on to a tourist area near the Iranian border called Ahmed Awa, where they intended to go backpacking.
A Kurdish security official said that the group was in contact with the fourth American, who stayed behind until Friday afternoon, when they told their friend they were lost and surrounded by military personnel speaking Farsi.
Kurdish authorities have received information that the three were picked up by the Iranians and are now in Iran, the senior official said.
This could cause some serious friction between the Iranian and US administrations, especially if they continue to hold these tourists until the 5th. I think Iran has enough problems at the moment not to want to play this politically. Hopefully, these tourists will be released very soon.