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Iraq asks Iran for information about 3 Americans' detention

BAGHDAD — Iraq has appealed to Iran for information about the detention of three Americans who crossed the border while hiking in the Kurdish north, the foreign minister said Saturday.

The request came as the three entered their second week in captivity facing the possibility of an investigation on spying charges despite the insistence of U.S. and Kurdish authorities that they accidentally went astray.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he raised the issue Thursday during a meeting with Iran's ambassador to Iraq.

"He did confirm that they have been arrested for entering the country without proper visas and they are now being interviewed to determine more details," Zebari told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, promised to pass the request for more information to his government, Zebari said.

Iranian lawmakers were scheduled to discuss the case Sunday during the weekly meeting of parliament's foreign policy committee, according to Press TV, the English language Iranian state television.

"We will discuss the additional information (handed to us) and the details of the case," said Hossein Sobhaninia, the deputy chair of the commission, in a report on the channel's Web site.

Iranian border guards detained freelance journalist Shane Bauer, Sara Shourd and Josh Fattal on July 31 while they were hiking near a waterfall on a mountain in Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region.