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Iran: 2 detained Americans will face trial

Two Americans in Iranian custody will stand trial for illegal entry and espionage, NBC News confirmed on Wednesday.
Detained U.S. hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal, shown here May 20, will face espionage and illegally entry charges in Iran next month, officials said Wednesday.
Detained U.S. hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal, shown here May 20, will face espionage and illegally entry charges in Iran next month, officials said Wednesday.Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: NBC, msnbc.com and news services

Two American hikers in Iranian custody will stand trial for illegal entry and espionage, NBC News confirmed on Wednesday.

The ISNA news agency quoted Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi as saying the that "we will hand any evidence we have to the judiciary."

"The two Americans will be tried," Moslehi added.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters on Tuesday that she had heard Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal would be tried on November 6 but she still hoped they would be released. Bauer's fiancée Sarah Shourd, who was detained with them, was freed on Sept. 14.

Iranian forces detained the trio in July 2009 while they were hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Under Iran's Islamic law, espionage can be punished by execution.

Since her departure from Iran, Shourd has said the three were innocent hikers who never intended to cross into Iran.

The case has further complicated relations between Tehran and Washington, which are strained over Iran's nuclear program. The United States accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, but the nation says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

On Saturday, Iran released Iranian-American businessman Reza Taghavi, who had been held for 2 1/2 years in the same Tehran jail as the hikers, on accusations of giving money to an outlawed anti-government group. Taghavi said Iranian authorities eventually agreed he had been duped into handing money to the U.S.-based group.