US woman held for spying in Iran (Lead, Changing dateline)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

LONDON - An American woman has been held in Iran after spy equipment was found hidden in her teeth, a media report said Thursday.

Customs officials detained the 55-year-old woman, identified as Hall Talayan, on spying charges in Nordouz town, the Daily Mail reported citing state-owned Iran newspaper.

The daily said Talayan had spying equipment hidden on her body when authorities detained her in the border town, around 600 km northwest of the capital Tehran.

Another media report claimed she had hidden “spying technology or a microphone” in her teeth.

It said the woman arrived in Iran from neighbouring Armenia without a visa, but did not say when she was detained.

The report could not be immediately confirmed by officials.

The woman is the fourth American arrested in Iran and accused of spying in less than two years.

In July 2009, Iran detained three Americans who were initially accused of crossing the border illegally from northern Iraq and later accused of spying.

The US has dismissed the spying charges and said the three are innocent hikers.

One of the three, Sarah Shourd, was released in September 2010 on compassionate grounds. Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and friend Josh Fattal remain in prison.

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