BERLIN - Relatives of two German journalists detained in Iran since October were disappointed Sunday after traveling to Tehran in hopes of seeing them during the Christmas holidays, but the reporters' employer said Iranian officials had promised to arrange a meeting Monday.
The mass-circulation tabloid Bild said late Sunday that the reporter's sister and the photographer's mother would finally be able to meet with the journalists at an undisclosed location in Tehran. The journalists, whose names have not been disclosed, were arrested while reporting on a highly publicized case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning.
The newspaper said a meeting had been scheduled for Saturday, then for Sunday, but both were canceled. That prompted Germany's foreign ministry to issue an unusually direct statement that said the relatives had not been granted access "despite repeated promises by Iran."
The women traveled Friday to Iran and were accompanied in Tehran by the German ambassador, a spokesman for Germany's foreign ministry said.
A spokesman with the Iranian foreign ministry previously said the judiciary was considering a request that would allow the two Germans to temporarily reunite with their family for Christmas. But authorities in Tehran never officially confirmed that the relatives would be allowed to meet them.
The two journalists entered Iran on tourist visas and were arrested in the city of Tabriz while interviewing the son and lawyer of 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
Iranian officials have said the two admitted violating laws that forbid people entering Iran on tourist visas to work as journalists.