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Iran to Release Female US Hiker 'Very Soon'

The Iranian United Nations mission has confirmed that Tehran will release American hiker Sarah Shourd "very soon."

In a statement Thursday, the second counselor to the Iranian mission, Bak Sahraei, said that "he would like to confirm that Iran will be releasing Sarah Shourd very soon."

Iran had earlier announced that one of the three Americans captured by Iran in July 2009 would be freed Saturday morning in Tehran.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested on July 31, 2009, while hiking in northern Iraq along the border with Iran. Their families say the three accidentally strayed across the border into Iran.

Iranian officials accused them of spying.

The State Department said it had no confirmation of the planned release. Spokesman Mark Toner said the United States was trying to getting additional information from Swiss diplomats, who handle U.S. interests in Iran.

The hikers' mothers say they are urgently seeking more information. They released a statement saying they hope the reports are true and signal the end of the "long and difficult detention" for their children.

Western news organizations quoted Iranian officials as saying journalists had been invited to attend a Saturday ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at the Estaghlal hotel.

In August, Nora Shourd said she received an unexpected phone call from her daughter, Sarah. Sarah, who has a pre-cancerous cervical condition and a lump in her breast, complained of being denied medical treatment.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.