Iran acknowledges holding 3 Australians on spying charges

U.S. & World

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has acknowledged for the first time that it holds three Australian nationals on suspicion of spying, marking the latest cases of those with Western ties being detained in the Islamic Republic amid tensions between Tehran and the U.S.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili on Tuesday as saying the three had been charged in two separate cases.

He said two Australians, likely the blogging couple Mark Firkin and Jolie King, had been detained over using a drone to take pictures and video of military areas and other unauthorized zones.

He said the other Australian faced charges of spying for another country, without elaborating. That’s likely an as-of-yet-unnamed Melbourne academic.

Australia said last week it was pressing Iran to free those held.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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