US: No record of American woman said held by Iran

January 7, 2011 12:54:45 PM PST
The U.S. government has no information to suggest that a woman reportedly arrested for espionage in Iran is an American citizen, the State Department said Friday, fueling doubts about Iranian media reports.

A search of passport and other records could not find a match for the name Hall Talaian or variations of it, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. That was the name given in media reports that a 55-year-old American was arrested by Iranian authorities last week while trying to enter Iran from Armenia.

"We have no information to corroborate this alleged incident," Crowley told reporters. "In addition to checking our own records, we have contacted Armenian authorities and, through our Swiss protecting power, the Iranian government concerning these reports. Neither Iran nor Armenia reports having any record of a U.S. citizen crossing or attempting to cross the Iran-Armenia border, as indicated in media accounts."

Armenian officials said earlier that no one of that name had entered Armenia and Iranian state television has since denied the reports that surfaced on Thursday.