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Iranian Prosecutor Calls for Trial of US Hikers

Iranian state media say an Iranian prosecutor has called for the trial of the three American hikers accused of spying to be held soon.

The state news agency IRNA quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi as saying the case files and indictments were sent on Wednesday to the court in charge of investigating the case against the Americans.

Dowlatabadi's remarks come a day after one of the three hikers, American Sarah Shourd, was freed on a $500,000 bail and allowed to leave Iran after more than a year in prison.

Shourd left behind fellow hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who remain in Iranian custody. Authorities arrested the trio in July 2009 after they crossed into Iran from northern Iraq, accusing them of spying and entering the country illegally. Family members say they crossed the border by accident.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday if Iran can release one hiker, it can release the other two. He said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could make a significant statement by doing so.

In an interview with VOA, the mothers of the two hikers still in Iran said they are hopeful their sons will also be released.

Cindy Hickey, Shane Bauer's mother, said she hopes they will be able to meet with Mr. Ahmadinejad and their sons next week in New York when the Iranian president attends the U.N. General Assembly. However, Hickey said there are no immediate plans for a meeting at this time.

The 32-year-old Shourd has remained out of the public eye since arriving in Oman and reuniting with her mother late Tuesday.

In a statement to Press TV before leaving Iran, Shourd thanked Iranian President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders for what she called "this humanitarian gesture." Shourd said she was "grateful" and "very humbled by this moment."

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the news of Shourd's release. In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Obama said he is hopeful the Iranian government will also ensure the return of the remaining two hikers and other Americans missing or detained in Iran. Iranian authorities say Bauer and Fattal's detention will be extended for two more months.