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updated 12/27/2010 6:47:12 PM ET 2010-12-27T23:47:12

Iran said Monday it will allow relatives to visit two German journalists detained while covering the case of an Iranian woman whose sentence to death by stoning for adultery has caused an international outcry.

It was not immediately clear when the visit would be allowed. Earlier Monday, the German Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to complain that the two were not able to meet with relatives over Christmas, despite earlier promises.

Iranian and German authorities have not identified the two journalists, but late Monday, an official Iranian TV outlet, Press TV, identified the two Germans for the first time, showing a passport belonging to as Marcus Alfred Rudolf Hellwig. The English-language Press TV identified the second journalist as Jens Andreas Koch.

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Ashtiani's sentence, which Iran has put on hold, has brought harsh condemnation from the U.S., the European Union and rights groups who are pressuring Tehran to stay the execution. It has further strained Iran's relations with world powers, already tense over the country's disputed nuclear program.

The two Germans — a reporter and a photographer for the mass-circulation tabloid Bild am Sonntag — entered the country on tourist visas and were arrested in early October in the northwestern city of Tabriz while interviewing the son and lawyer of the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Ashtiani's son and lawyer were arrested around the same time as the two journalists.

Iranian officials approved the visit by the families in Tabriz, 400 miles (630 kilometers) from the capital Tehran, according to a statement on the website of state TV.

In Berlin, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said two relatives are now on their way to Tabriz after German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spoke several times with his Iranian counterpart on Monday.

"Therefore there was a meeting between the relatives and the Iranian Foreign Minister, during which the latter promised a swift encounter with the detainees in Tabriz," said the spokesman, who declined to be named in keeping with government policy.

Bild reported Sunday that the reporter's sister and the photographer's mother would be able to meet with the journalists at an undisclosed location in Tehran, the Iranian capital. The newspaper said that meeting was first planned for Saturday and then rescheduled for Sunday, but both were canceled.

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Iranian officials claim the two Germans have admitted to violating Iranian laws, which forbid those entering the country on tourist visas to work as journalists. Iran's judiciary rejected claims by Iranian officials who accused the two Germans of espionage, and no spy charges have been filed against them.

The two were shown on Iranian state television in mid-November and earlier this month, Iran signaled it might release them for the New Year's holiday.

Ashtiani's death by stoning sentence has been put on hold and is now being reviewed by Iran's Supreme Court.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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