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To: DoctorZIn
Three Western tourists kidnapped in Iran

Mon 8 December
Reuters

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Three Western tourists have been kidnapped in southeastern Iran, an Interior Ministry spokesman says.

He declined to give details of the circumstances of the kidnapping or the nationalities of those involved. He told Reuters on Monday the tourists were kidnapped in the Sistan-Baluchestan province close to Iran's borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said it was possible an unspecified number of Germans had been kidnapped but declined to provide further details.

"There are indications that Germans are possibly involved. I cannot add anything else," she said. "The foreign ministry has set up a crisis team."

Sistan-Baluchestan province is a major smuggling route used by well-armed drug runners moving heroin from Afghanistan to western Europe.

Kidnapping of Westerners is extremely rare in Iran, which has been trying to promote itself as a tourist destination in recent years.

Earlier on Monday, diplomats and government sources said at least two Westerners had been kidnapped.

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=417653&section=news
11 posted on 12/08/2003 5:11:59 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
Western tourists kidnapped in Iran
Mon 8 December, 2003 12:58

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Armed drug runners have kidnapped one Irish and two German tourists on a cycling trip in southeast Iran and demanded five million euros (3.5 million pounds) for their release, Iranian government sources have told Reuters.

The sources, who declined to be named, said the kidnapping took place last week in Sistan-Baluchestan province close to Iran's borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"They were travelling on bicycles on the road between (the cities of) Bam and Zahedan when the smugglers kidnapped them," one of the sources said on Monday.

The sources declined to say what efforts were being made for the hostages' release.

Irish embassy officials in Tehran could not immediately be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry said it was possible an unspecified number of Germans had been kidnapped but declined to give further details.

"There are indications that Germans are possibly involved. I cannot add anything else," she said. "The foreign ministry has set up a crisis team."

Sistan-Baluchestan province is a major smuggling route used by well-armed drug runners moving opium from Afghanistan to western Europe.

Kidnapping of Westerners is rare in Iran, which has been trying to promote itself as a tourist destination in recent years.

There was a spate of kidnappings in southern Iran in 1999 when drug traffickers seized 10 Europeans in three separate incidents.

All the hostages were eventually freed unharmed and three of the convicted kidnappers were executed at public hangings in 2001.

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=417777&section=news
13 posted on 12/08/2003 6:32:29 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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