Iran-US Spy War of WordsJanuary 6, 2011 - 1:09 PM | by: Greg Palkot
LONDON There were more reports today of another American picked up for espionage by Iran. It appeared to show more about what some in Iran would like to believe rather than actual fact.
The state-affiliated newspaper “Iran” claimed a 55 year-old American woman, Hall Talayan, was detained on the border between Armenia and Iran, and was accused of spying.
Another news source claimed that spy gear, possible a microphone, was concealed in her mouth or teeth. Even the widely-quoted Fars state news agency made mention of the incident.
Fox News could not get any official confirmation for the story.
Neither could the State Department.
Then, according to Reuters and AFP, Al-Alam, a state-run Arabic language satellite TV channel based in Tehran, basically denied the story, saying the woman had been turned around at the border and sent back to Armenia.
Presumably if she was a Yankee spy, especially sporting spyware, she would have been held.
“Charges of spying in Iran are quite common,” London-based Iran expert Merhdad Masoudi told Fox News, “against both Iranian nationals and non-Iranians, sometimes without any base and at times quite legitimately.”
The notion that Iran would nab Americans crossing its border to accuse them of spying is not fantastical. American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer remain in a Tehran prison after being arrested on the Iranian border with Iraqi Kurdistan. They face a spy trial next month. A third American, Sara Shourd was released at a price last September.
Two German journalists are being held for espionage as well.
And just this week an official of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed to have shot down two “western” spy drone aircraft over the Persian Gulf. US military denied any of theirs were shot down.
With tensions remaining high over Iran’s suspect nuclear program, at the very least, the spy war of words between Iran and the US shows no sign of abating.