As an avid backpacker and hiker with a taste for challenging backcountry forays, at first I could not imagine any reason I would choose Iraq as a destination; given current political conditions. Backpacking in the Kurdistan region of Iraq near the Iranian border? Where these kids foolish and naive? Seem so to me.
Iran Accuses U.S. Hikers of Espionage By JACK HEALY and NAZILA FATHI
Published: November 9, 2009
Three American hikers who were arrested in Iran this summer after straying across its border with Iraq have been accused of spying, an Iranian state news agency reported on Monday.
The Tehran prosecutor told Iran’s official IRNA news agency that the Iranian authorities were pursuing espionage charges against the Americans, who were detained in late July after trekking through the Kurdistan region of Iraq and toward the Iranian border. News of the spying accusations drew a quick rebuke from the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, with each reiterating calls for the Iranians to release the hikers, Shane M. Bauer, 27, of Emeryville, Calif.; Joshua F. Fattal, 27, of Cottage Grove, Ore.; and Sarah E. Shourd, 31, of Oakland, Calif.
“We believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters in Berlin. “And we would renew our request on behalf of these three young people and their families that the Iranian government exercise compassion and release them so they can return home.”