VANCOUVER -- As tensions between Iran and the United States heat up, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it is assisting more than 60 Iranian nationals and American citizens who were "detained at length and questioned" at Peace Arch border crossing as they tried to enter the United States after visiting British Columbia.

Cyrus Habib, the Lieutenant Governor of Washington, said on Twitter that "our office is receiving reports of Iranian Americans being held up at the Canada-WA border. We are working to help those being affected & gathering info."

In a press release, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it had spoken to people who had been detained who said they were "questioned about their political views and allegiances" and held for more than 10 hours.

The organization also claims to have informaton from a source at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol who "reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a national order to CBP to 'report' and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed potentially suspicious or 'adversarial,' regardless of citizenship status."

But Customs and Border Patrol said that reports that Iranian-Americans are being detained and refused entry to the United States because of their country of origin are false.

"Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false," the agency said in a Jan. 5 tweet.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated following an American attack that killed Iran's most powerful general, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 4.

The attack has sent shockwaves throughout the Middle East region, and spurred the Iraqi parliament to vote to expel U.S. troops from Iraq, and Iran to pledge that it will no longer abide by the limits of a 2015 nuclear deal.