Iran reiterated on Sunday that three Americans jailed a year ago should stand trial on charges of illegally crossing the country's borders.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran is also considering other possible charges against Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal including intentionally acting against Iranian security, according to a state media report. There has been no indication from Iran so far that formal charges against the three have been filed.
The Americans' families and the U.S. government say the three are innocent and accidentally crossed Iran's border while hiking in northern Iraq.
"The three American citizens have been detained for illegal entry to Iranian territory," Mehmanparast said, according to the website of the state broadcasting company. "So the violation of law is obvious and they should be answerable before the law like any other individual."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has in the past proposed swapping the three for Iranians he says are jailed in the U.S., raising fears that the Americans are being held as bargaining chips.
But in his latest remarks, Mehmanparast denied their case was related to Iranians allegedly held in the U.S. Iran claims 11 of its citizens are held in U.S. jails.
"Their case is merely a judicial issue," said Mehmanparast in response to protests in several cities around the world over the weekend to demand the release of the three.
President Barack Obama marked the first anniversary of the jailing of three Americans over the weekend by reiterating that they are guilty of nothing, have never worked for the U.S. government and never had any quarrel with the Iranian government.
Iran has alleged in the past that the three were spies for the United States.
Mehmanparast said the three American prisoners have been offered support from the Swiss embassy, which looks after U.S. interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations. They were also allowed to meet their mothers in May.
By Associated Press Writer Nasser Karimi