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Iran Releases Three Detained Belgians

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has released three Belgians who were detained two months ago for illegally entering a prohibited area and gathering information, official media reported today.

Iran's IRNA news agency said the Belgian citizens were released and handed over on December 8 to the Belgian ambassador in Tehran on the orders of Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi. It also named the Belgians, whose detentions had not been previously reported in Iran.

In Brussels, a Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman said he had no comment at this stage.

Iranian media did not specify what kind of banned area the three Belgians had allegedly entered, but may have referred to military zones or areas where nuclear sites are located.

Iran is embroiled in a long-running dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear program. Western countries suspect the program is aimed at making bombs, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

Last week, Iran freed five British yachtsmen who were detained on November 25 after their vessel strayed into Iranian waters in the Gulf. They were released after Iran said they had no "evil" intentions.