Iran here Wednesday confirmed that three Turkish tourists who had been taken hostage in eastern Iran since late last December have been released.
The official IRNA news agency reported the three Turkish tourists were released on Tuesday "thanks to the relentless efforts of the Iranian police as well as members of the ministries of information and interior".
Earlier on Tuesday, Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted officials from the Turkish Embassy in Tehran as saying that the three Turkish citizens were freed upon efforts by Iranian and Pakistani authorities.
The three Turkish, Yurdaer Etike, Serdar Durna and Huseyin Avni Ozan, were taken hostage on Dec. 24, 2005 in Iran's eastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan on their way to Pakistan and then to Bangladesh and Nepal.
They have been handed over to Turkish officials in Tehran on Wednesday, said IRNA, adding that the bandits who took the three hostages had asked for a three-million-euro ransom for freedom of them.
It was reported that the kidnappers were members of an illegal organization called Cundullah (Army of Allah), which dealt with drug and human smuggling.
Sistan-Baluchestan, bordering with Pakistan and Afghanistan, is one of the most turbulent and poorest provinces in Iran.