Washington, Apr 24: The US government has expressed concern over the detention of three of its citizens in Iran on espionage charges.
Worried about the safety of the Americans held in Iran, the White House on Friday, Apr 23 called for their immediate release.
The detention of the three Americans, identified as Shane Bauer (27), Sarah Shourd (31), and Josh Fattal (27), since Jul 2009 opened up a new chapter in and intensified the ongoing US-Iranian conflict over Iran's nuclear policies.
"We were deeply alarmed to learn from the families today of their physical and emotional state of health," White House press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement on Friday, Apr 23.
"We fear their well-being will suffer even more unless their case is resolved without delay. We strongly believe these urgent developments are additional reasons for the government of Iran to release them immediately" he added referring to the plight of the detainees and their deteriorating health.
Even though he welcomed Iran's decision to allow the Americans "to receive another Swiss consular visit at long last," Gibbs criticized Iran for holding the Americans without formal charges or access to legal defense.
Iran, on the other hand, has claimed that it has 'compelling evidence' that the arrested Americans were cooperating with intelligence services.