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Iran's election of a new, moderate president last month brought hope for more open tourism, but these arrests indicate that in fact the country is no safer to visitors than ever.

Iran Sunday confirmed it has detained seven Slovak nationals, saying they have broken the law, Iranian media reported.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi told outlets including the semiofficial Mehr news agency that the Slovaks entered Iran as tourists, “but they had unconventional behavior and instruments. They violated Iran’s law.”

Araghchi said the case is under judicial investigations and would later be sent to the courts. He said Slovak diplomats have access to the detainees.

Iran did not identify the detainees or give any detail on the venue and time of their arrest.

However Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee said the Slovaks were “spies” suspected of photographing prohibited sites.

“Several Slovak nationals were taking photos of military sites when police detained them,” the semiofficial ISNA agency quoted Boroujerdi as saying.

Iran has occasionally detained foreign nationals on similar charges over the past years.

In February Iran released a Slovak national after holding him for weeks accused of spying for the CIA.

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Tags: iran, safety

Photo credit: An Iranian Flag. Adam Jones / Flickr

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