US tourists 'being held by Iran'
01-Aug-2009 (9 comments)

Washington has said it is checking reports that three US tourists were detained by Iranians while hiking along the northern Iraqi border.

The three are reported to have gone missing in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region which borders Iran.

Local Iraqi officials suggested the Americans might have been detained after straying into Iranian territory.

There was no immediate comment from Iran. The US said its embassy in Baghdad was investigating.

"We are using all available means to determine the facts in this case," the state department said in a statement.

A senior security official in the Iraqi city of Suleymaniyeh, Qadr Hamajan, told Reuters news agency that the Americans were among a group of four hikers that had arrived there on Wednesday.

He said three of them set off the following day for the tourist resort of Ahmad Awa, about 150km (93 miles) to the east and near the Iranian border.

"They phoned their friend in Suleymaniyeh and told him 'We are in trouble and are being held by soldiers who are not speaking Kurdish or Arabic'," he said.

One unnamed border official was quoted as saying US helicopters and military vehicles had begun a search for the the missing tourists in the nearby city of Halabja.

The mountainous border region is popular for hiking. The Iraq-Iran border is not clearly marked in the area.

Shifteh Ansari

آخه اینم شد جای قدم زدن؟

Shifteh Ansari

Wrong timing, wrong location, wrong country. You guys messed up good! How are they going to get you out now? I bet they will be used as the "missing link" in the Tehran unrest!


Shah Ghollam

I always wondered

by Shah Ghollam on

why many people around the world call Americans "stupid tourists"!

just a few weeks ago, there were two "American tourists" who walked into North Korea illigally that were captured. Now two "American Tourists" walked into Iran illigally.

Either the US government wants us to believe non-sense or the American tourists are really dumb with a passion for illigally enetering enemy territories!


Shifteh, I can see where you're coming from...

by Ostaad on

Yes, there are a lot of people who post nonsense "news" item, and I don't care to comment on their posts because the lack of depth and seriousness of some of those posters are so obvious. But I have read most, not all of your posts, and I find them informative.

For example just take a look at the item Peace45 has posted and has titled it as, "Best Western Coverage on Iran"!!! I wanted to post a comment and congratulate him on his new role as the Rupert Murdoch's paperboy. There is nothing new in WSJ reports about Iran that has not been covered by almost all news agencies. WSJ does not and cannot add any depth nor analysis to any news other than the right wing slant now tenfold due to Murdoch's ownership of that rag.

But then I changed my mind because he/she has posted such nonsense before. In fact that's all he/she does. 

Shifteh Ansari


by Shifteh Ansari on

O.K. Truce.  To tell you the truth, it didn't feel good writing that condescending bit either, but I see so many others (mostly men) post cheap news items and I never see anyone questioning them or taking the time to educate them.

I'm afraid my explanation about the title didn't come across properly.  I did not change the BBC news title (what you suggested I had done), I copied and pasted it as it was, because I know better than to change BBC's (or any other news agency's) news title.  I merely suggested that BBC has changed that piece's title after more information has emerged, a practice that is not unusual in online reporting.

The CNN link which is now a day old was to show you that I believe the reason BBC had originally chosen the title was CNN's "Breaking News" announcement, which after investigation BBC must have decided to change. That's the most plausible explanation I can think of for the title change. Thank you for the sense of responsibility Ostaad.  You are our ostaad.


Shifeh, I am truely sorry if my tone came across as...

by Ostaad on

condescending because that was not my intention at all. I'd like you to know that your "Would you be kinder to me if I were a man?" statement was uncalled for. Let's call it a cheap shot and move on.

I am a news junkie and I sure take it very seriously for obvious reasons. I am afraid your response about the way you chose your post's title doesn't address the fact that I'm talking about BBC's piece and you're responding with a video from CNN. I wouldn't call CNN a professional news organization after Ted Turner left the company. Turner himself has voice such concerns about CNN's lackadaisical attitude about serious news reporting too.

As to posting news from various sources, thank you very much for the suggestion but I've doing just that on this forum for more than a year.

Looking froward to reading your posts often.

Shifteh Ansari

How it was first reported

by Shifteh Ansari on

This is how it was initially reported as a breaking story, hence a possible reason for BBC's earlier title.

Shifteh Ansari

I did not change the title

by Shifteh Ansari on

I don't change titles when I post news pieces. If it was changed from the time I posted it to what is displayed now, it is BBC's doing not mine. When breaking news is posted by major news sources, the titles and news text are sometimes changed to match the compiling information on the story.

I only post things from Radio Farda because they report frequently and comprehensively on many things.  If you know of a better source, please post things from that source.

I like you Ostaad and I agree with you on many things. Why the condescending tone toward me? Would you be kinder to me if I were a man? I do this as a community service, as the only thing I can do right now. Even if news sources or their motives are dubious, an intelligent audience (which this is) will make up their own mind.  I doubt I am influencing anyone.


Shifeth, the actual BBC headline is...

by Ostaad on

"Thee US nationals held in Iran". BBC, following sound journalistic standard practices, has reported these people were "described as tourists". I am not sure why you're making up titles and do a bit of editorializing in your post. The Smart Title is there exactly for that purpose. There's no need to butcher a professionally reported news item by a reputable news organization.

I know you like to post Radiofarda and other government mouthpieces on this site , but please don't insult our intelligence. Just stick to what has been reported.

Much obliged.


Who says...

by Ostaad on

they were "tourists"?