Iran’s judiciary has confirmed the detention of three Australian citizens, marking the first somewhat official statement on the matter from within the country.

Citing a report from Iranian news agency Fars, Reuters reports three Australian citizens – believed to be travel bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin, and University of Melbourne lecturer Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert – have been accused of espionage-related offences.

Judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said “two of them had taken pictures in military areas,” an apparent reference to King and Firkin’s alleged use of a drone near a restricted area.

Esmaili said the third Australian citizen, thought to be Moore-Gilbert, was detained “for spying for a third country” and that “the court will decide whether this person is guilty or not.”

While Esmaili did not confirm when the arrests took place, reports emerged last week that King and Firkin were arrested by Iranian authorities some ten weeks ago.

ABC reports state Dr Moore-Gilbert, who was lecturing at a university in Qoms at the time of her arrest, was arrested late last year. She was allegedly convicted and sentenced to ten years behind bars, but Esmaili’s recent statement suggests the matter will head to court.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is in communication with the families of all three detainees.

Last week, Foreign Minister Marise Payne told Parliament that the Australian government is “making efforts to ensure they are being treated fairly, humanely and in custom to international norms.”

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