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U.S. Says Iran Denies Access To Jailed Hikers

The U.S. State Department has expressed concern about the welfare of three U.S. hikers who have been imprisoned in Iran since July, saying they may be held in "deplorable conditions."

Spokesman Philip Crowley says Iran's refusal to allow Swiss diplomats to visit the hikers in Tehran's Evin Prison since the end of October is "outrageous" and a violation of international agreements.

Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

Crowley said the United States would continue to press for access to the trio to ensure their well-being.

Washington says the three -- Josh Fattal, 27, Shane Bauer, 27, and Sarah Shourd, 31 -- had been hiking in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region when they accidentally crossed the border into Iran in late July.

compiled from agency reports