Ore. man among three people held by Iran

Ore. man among three people held by Iran »Play Video

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) - Iran state TV confirmed Saturday that it has detained three Americans who crossed the border from northern Iraq, saying they failed to heed warnings from Iranian guards.

One man, Josh Fattal, traveled to the area from Cottage Grove, Ore. Fattal is affiliated with Aprovecho America, a center for environmentally sustainable activities, according to its members and Web site.

Kurdish officials from northern Iraq said the three - two men and a woman - were tourists who had mistakenly crossed into Iranian territory Friday while hiking in a mountainous area near the resort town of Ahmed Awaa.

"The Iranians said they have arrested them because they entered their land without legal permission," said Qubad Talabani, the Kurdish regional government's envoy to Washington.

Iran's state owned Arabic-language al-Alam TV station cited a "well-informed source" in the Interior Ministry that the three Americans were detained Friday after crossing into Iran's Kurdistan province.

The report said the Americans were arrested after they did not heed warnings from Iranian border guards.

A fourth person affiliated with the group who were captured, Shon Meckfessel, said he got a phone call from the group just before they were captured.

He said the person on the phone said that they were surrounded by Iranian soldiers. He said he was not on the hike because he was feeling ill.

Meckfessel was learning to teach English as a second language and is a University of Washington graduate student.