US woman confesses to spying

“During preliminary questioning she confessed to this issue,” said deputy border police chief Brigadier General Ahmad Garavand, when asked if the woman was involved in spying.

Garavand told media that an “American woman spy” he identified as Hal Talayan was arrested in the town of Jolfa on the border with Azerbaijan’s autonomous region of Naxcivan, close to Armenia. She “was arrested on January 5 while filming under cover as a tourist, and she was on a mission from the US spy agency,” Garavand said.

He said she had been “tasked by Americans to film the borders.” She “was filming the border markets, Jolfa (police) station and the frontier” with “advanced filming equipment.”

State-television reiterated that the “American woman entered Iran through Armenia,” but the Armenian government on Friday denied she had ever been to the former Soviet republic. The Fars news agency gave her name as Hal Talayan, while Mehr and ISNA news agencies named her as Hal Fayalan, 34.

Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam television cited a security source as saying a US woman had been refused entry at a border crossing with Armenia over a visa problem.

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