U.S. spokesman Tom Casey (file photo) (official website)
May 30, 2007 -- The United States has rejected as "absurd" Iranian allegations of spying against three people holding dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said on May 29 that the three are private citizens and are not party to any of the policy disputes between the United States and the Iranian government.
Casey said Iranian authorities are ignoring multiple requests by Switzerland, which represents U.S. interests in Tehran, for consular access to the three accused.
Earlier the same day, a spokesman for Iran's judiciary, Ali Reza Jamshidi, said social-science scholar Kian Tajbakhsh is being held on charges of spying. He is an urban-planning specialist who has worked for the World Bank and the Open Society Institute of U.S. billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
Jamshidi said Iran's Interior Ministry has made the same accusation against Haleh Esfandiari, an expert on the Middle East who is being held at Iran's Evin Prison.
Jamshidi also said Parnaz Azima, a journalist for U.S.-funded Radio Farda, has been charged with acting against the Iranian state. She is free on bail while awaiting trial.
(compiled from agency reports)