Several months after detaining three Americans hikers for illegally entering Iran, authorities announced they would be putting the California students on trial.
Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested July 31 by Iranian authorities when they crossed the border from Iraq while on vacation in Kurdistan. Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki accused the three of spying.
"The interrogation of and the judicial process against the three U.S. nationals, who entered Iran illegally with dubious intent, are still ongoing," he said during a news conference in Tehran. "They will be put on trial by the Iranian judicial system, and the necessary judicial rulings will be issued against them."
The U.S. government is demanding their release, saying they are innocent tourists who accidentally crossed into Iran while hiking in northern Iraq.
"We consider this a totally unfounded charge," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters. "There is no basis for it. The three young people who were detained by the Iranians have absolutely no connection with any kind of action against the Iranian state or government."
Meanwhile, their families are holding vigils in an effort to keep the story front and center.
"There ain't a minute that don't go by that you don't think about them," Al Bauer, the father of hostage Shane Bauer said. "You know, you're a parent. You want to do something for your kids and you can't."
Shane's aunt, Cathy Theis, said "(We) don't want it to fade from the news. And that's where we have to keep the visuals going just to keep it alive and to make sure that people are aware that, hey, these three individuals are still -they're gone! You know and they're not back home yet."
U.S. officials fear Tehran is planning to use the hikers as bargaining chips in talks over its nuclear program.