Iran has charged the three American hikers who stumbled across its border with illegal entry, a security official announced today. “They are definitely Americans. We don’t know whether they are tourists or not. We are questioning them,” he said. Authorities accused the West of using the case for propaganda, and state media outlets evinced skepticism that the prisoners were really harmless hikers—at least one is a freelance journalist.
“While BBC said they were mountain hikers, some websites say they were journalists,” said one newscaster on Iran’s top state-run channel. “Since occupation of Iraq by US-led forces, American journalists have traveled to neighboring countries illegally.” Friends and family say the trio didn’t intend to crossover into Iran.