Three US Tourists Arrested After ‘Straying’ Into Iran

Police in Iraqi Kurdistan Say They Warned Tourists of Border Proximity

Three US citizens were reportedly arrested today after crossing illegally into Iranian territory. The three were tourists visiting Ahmed Awa, in the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan, and apparently crossed the border into nearby Iran.

The US State Department says it is investigating the reports. Two of the tourists reportedly were students in Syria at the time, and police reportedly warned the tourists that their trip was taking them dangerously close to the border, which is not clearly marked in the mountainous region.

An arrest for an accidental border crossing by a tourist would normally be a very minor issue, but given the US government’s hostile rhetoric against the Iranian government and the publicity this story has already gotten, what should have been a minor case could quickly become an international incident.

A popular tourist location, Ahmed Awa village in famous for its waterfall, and is particularly popular in the summer. The village’s proximity to the Iranian border, however, makes it a risky proposition for Americans.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.