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Hikers in Iran

By
United Press International
Josh Fattal, 27, seen in an undated handout image from his family, has been detained along with Sarah Shourd, 31, and Shane Bauer, 27, since July 31, 2009 after they crossed into Iran by accident while hiking in a scenic area in northern Iraq. UPI/Courtesy of the Shourd, Bauer and Fattal Families
Josh Fattal, 27, seen in an undated handout image from his family, has been detained along with Sarah Shourd, 31, and Shane Bauer, 27, since July 31, 2009 after they crossed into Iran by accident while hiking in a scenic area in northern Iraq. UPI/Courtesy of the Shourd, Bauer and Fattal Families

TEHRAN, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Iranian officials announced plans Monday to put three U.S. hikers on trial.

The three Americans were captured July 31 after they entered Iranian territory while hiking in northern Iraq. They said they accidentally crossed the border.

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They have been charged with illegal entry into the country but that could escalate into espionage, one official suggested last month.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, at a news conference Monday, said: "Interrogation of the three Americans who have illegally entered Iran with suspicious aims is ongoing. They will be put on trial by the judiciary and rulings will be made."

No trial date was announced.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for the release of the hikers.