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international intrigue

Iran Accuses American Woman of Spying With Her Teeth

Iran has added another alleged American spy to its growing collection. Hall Talayan, a 55-year-old woman, was caught crossing into Iran from neighboring Armenia without a visa a week ago, according to Iranian news sources. If that wasn't suspicious enough, she also had some kind of strange spy teeth. According to the BBC:

The latest report, carried in the state-owned Farsi daily, Iran, said Ms Talayan had hidden "spying technology or a microphone" in her teeth.

While Iranian state news is about as reliable as that friend you had in middle school who claimed that he hooked up with every hot teacher, tooth-based microphones are definitely a thing. In fact, some similar-sounding technology was patented five years ago, as New Scientist reported then:


[F]our inventors deep in the heart of US Defence territory, in Maryland and Virginia, have come up with a mic that is clamped to a back tooth. This, they say, shields it from external vibration while still picking up speech from the jaw bone ...

In the new device, a vibration sensor is set in resin and moulded to fit like a dental cap or plate. A low-power radio link transmits audio to a higher-power transmitter built into ear-muff headphones, so wearers hear their own voice as it is sent to others.

Still, anything Iran claims about the Americans it arrests has to be considered highly suspect. And not everything in these news reports makes immediate sense:

The Fars report gave few further details, but added: "The detained American spy told Iranian security officials that she would be killed if Iran extradites her to Armenia."

Wait, Armenia would kill her? Why? Was she actually involved in espionage against Armenia then? Is anyone involved in espionage against Armenia? Maybe Fars just made it up. As is often the case with anything that happens in Iran, questions greatly outnumber answers at this point.

U.S. woman arrested in Iran for spying: report [Reuters]
Iran detains American woman over 'spy device' in teeth [BBC]

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Photo: Behrouz Mehri/Getty Images