Three Americans arrested in July after crossing into Iran from neighboring Iraq are still under investigation, a prosecutor said Tuesday as he underlined Teheran's concern about 11 Iranians it says are being held in the US.
Iranian officials have repeatedly mentioned the cases together, and US officials have been concerned that Iran could try to use the detained Americans - said by their families to be innocent hikers who went astray - as bargaining chips. The Teheran prosecutor did not explicitly link their case to those of the 11 Iranians.
"The Americans should know that there are 11 Iranian nationals in US prisons. We hope the Americans are treating them based on regulations," prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Iran released a list earlier this month of 11 Iranians it says are being held in the US - including a nuclear scientist who disappeared in Saudi Arabia and a former Defense Ministry official who vanished in Turkey. The list also includes an Iranian arrested in Canada on charges of trying to obtain nuclear technology.
The prosecutor did not go into details about the case of the three Americans, whose families say they were trekking in northern Iraq's Kurdish region and accidentally strayed over the unmarked border with Iran.