'The Swiss ambassador did today receive formal notification by the Iranian government that it has three Americans in detention. Iran has obligations under the Vienna Convention, and we demand consular access at the first opportunity.'
Thus commented Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. State Department, yesterday on what CNN called "the first official notice through diplomatic channels," confirming reports that 3 American students were arrested recently "when they strayed across the border while hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan." (map credit) The channel went Iran-to-Switzerland-to-United States because, as we noted a while back, the countries at either end of the chain do not have diplomatic relations with one another. A glance through IntLawGrrls' prior posts regarding the treaty to which Crowley referred -- the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as it has played out in cases like Medellín v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court, 2007) and United States v. Iran (International Court of Justice, 1980) -- will place Crowley's comment in further context.