| Updated at: 0526 PST, Sunday, January 09, 2011|
TEHRAN: An Iranian security official confirmed on Saturday that an American woman said by media earlier this week to have been arrested for spying when trying to enter the country is in custody, as the United States denied the reports.
Ahmad Garavand, deputy border police chief, told reporters his forces had arrested a US woman "spy" at the town of Jolfa on the border with Azerbaijan, two news agencies reported.
An agency gave her name as Hal Talayan, while two others news agencies named her as Hal Fayalan, 34.
"This American woman spy has been arrested at Jolfa" in northwestern Iran, Garavand was quoted as saying by former news agency.
"This person was arrested on January 5 while she was filming under cover as a tourist, and she was on a mission from the US spy agency," he said.
On Thursday, former news agency reported that a woman named Hal Talayan had been arrested last week on the border with Armenia.
Later, however, Iran's Arabic-language television cited a security source as saying a US woman had been refused entry at a border crossing with Armenia a week ago over a visa problem.
"She approached the border guards, but as she did not have a visa, she was not authorised to enter Iran. She was sent back to Armenia," the television station said.