Tehran has denied reports of the arrest of an American female said to be a suspected spy, claiming instead that she was refused crossing from the Armenian border because she didn't have a visa, Iranian Al-Alam TV reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed official from Tehran. The woman is named as 55-year-old Talayan Hall.
Earlier Thursday another Iranian Farsi-language news agency reported that Iranian officials had arrested the woman on suspicions of spying a week ago, as she tried to cross into Iran with spying equipment in her teeth.
If arrested, Hall would be the fourth American citizen arrested by Iranian officials in the last 18 months. Hikers Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested and charged with suspicion of spying in July of 2009.
Ms. Shourd was released by Iranian authorities in September 2010. Bauer and Fattal remain in detention. The three were arrested across the border in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The hikers themselves stated that they had gone astray crossing the border.
The reports on Talayan Hall show contradictions, as so far there has been no official confirmation from Armenia or Iran.