Accessibility links

Mothers of Jailed US Hikers Leave Iran

Witnesses and a lawyer for three American hikers jailed in Iran say the mothers of the hikers are leaving the country without their children.

The three women were driven to a Tehran airport Friday after having a second, private, meeting with their children.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal have been in Iran for 10 months after officials arrested them last year on charges of spying.

Iran says they illegally entered the country from Iraq. Family members who have been appealing for their release say the hikers accidentally strayed into Iran from northern Iraq's Kurdish region.

The mothers arrived in Iran Wednesday and again called on Tehran to release their children as a humanitarian gesture.

Meanwhile, two Iranians who were held for years in Iraq were unexpectedly freed Friday as the mothers of the hikers began their visit.

Local media reports quote Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, as saying the two detainees were released under provisions in a security agreement between the United States and Iraq.

The ambassador says U.S. forces had arrested the two detainees on "baseless charges" and for "not carrying passports."

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