Iran denies seizing US troops at border with Pakistan: TV

Iranian officials denied reports that its security forces seized seven US troops.

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2010, 20:46 PM IST

Tehran: Iranian officials denied on Sunday
reports that its security forces seized seven US troops near
the Islamic republic`s border with Pakistan, Tehran-based
Al-Alam television and Press TV reported.

"No American troops have been arrested. We deny it,"
Ali Mohammad Azad, the governor general of Iran`s
Sistan-Baluchestan province, told the Arabic language Al-Alam
network.

The channel said a source with the provincial border
patrol services had also denied the arrest reported earlier by
hardline news website Javanonline.ir, which is close to the
elite Revolutionary Guards.

Iran`s English-language Press TV said the guards
rejected the reports that US troops have been arrested as
"unfounded" as Javanonline also denied its report as
"incorrect" and "apologised" to its readers.

In the US, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said to a news agency: "We are aware of the story and are looking into it, but
have no information that would confirm it to be true."

"It has been heard that seven US forces along with two
Iranians who intended to enter Iranian territory at the Kuhak
border area near Saravan were identified and arrested by
border patrols," Javanonline had said earlier.

The town of Saravan is located near the border with
Pakistan in Iran`s southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The province, which also lies on a major narcotics
route from Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been the scene of a
deadly insurgency by the Sunni militant group Jundallah, whose
leader was executed this year.

Iranian officials have repeatedly accused the US
forces in neighbouring Afghanistan of backing militants and
fuelling unrest in its restive border area.

In March 2007 Revolutionary Guards seized 15 members
of the British navy personnel and held them for 13 days over
allegedly trespassing into Iranian waters in the Gulf.

PTI