1-of-3 American Hikers Released from Iranian Prison


After days of conflicting reports, Iran has released one of three Americans the country has been holding on spy charges. Sarah Shourd has been reunited with her parents in the nearby country of Oman.

Sarah Shourd embraced her mother Tuesday after a 14-month nightmare in an Iranian prison .

"I've been waiting for this moment for a really long time, and I'm extremely grateful to be standing here today," said Shourd.

Shourd was arrested with two other Americans in July 2009, hiking in a group along the border of Iran and Iraq. Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend, Josh Fattall, were all charged with spying.

She was seen here last May during a visit by all three hikers’ mothers.

Iranian courts set the bail at $500,000 and initially Shourd's family said they couldn't pay.

But it's still not clear who did pay Shourd's bail. Since the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran, Swiss diplomats handled the negotiations. And officials at the State Department say they aren't certain of the final terms of Shourd's release.

“All I can say is, did the U.S. government pay anything?” said P.J. Crowley of the U.S. State Department. “The answer is no.”

The White House put out a statement saying that President Obama was pleased with Shourd's release but that Bauer and Fattal were still in jail although they had "committed no crime.”

Iran's chief prosecutor announced Tuesday that their pre-trial detentions have been extended for two months.

"They should be standing here with me,” said Shourd. “They don't deserve to be in jail a minute longer."

No one's saying when and if the men will get a trial but so far there's no indication Iran's government is listening to calls for their release.

The State Department has challenged the Iranian president to bring the two Americans still being detained to the U.N. General Assembly next week.

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