News / USA

    Iran Releases US Hikers

    In this May 21, 2010 file photo, American hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal are shown in Tehran, Iran. The lawyer for two Americans jailed as spies in Iran says a $1 million bail-for-freedom deal has been approved by the courts, clearing the way f
    In this May 21, 2010 file photo, American hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal are shown in Tehran, Iran. The lawyer for two Americans jailed as spies in Iran says a $1 million bail-for-freedom deal has been approved by the courts, clearing the way f

    Timeline of U.S. hikers detained by Iran

    • July 31, 2009: Iran arrests three American hikers, describes the three as "spies".
    • Nov. 5, 2009: Clinton expresses hope Iran will release the three "on humanitarian and compassionate" grounds.
    • March 9, 2010: Iran allows the hikers to call home for the first time.
    • April 28, 2010: Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu pleads for Iran to release the American hikers.
    • May 20, 2010: The mothers of the three hikers travel to Tehran and visit with their children.
    • May 24, 2010: The mothers of Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd announce their children plan to marry once they are freed from prison.
    • July 29, 2010: Clinton again calls on Iran to release the hikers, who have been detained without trial for almost a year.
    • Sept. 14, 2010: Iran releases Sarah Shourd on $500,000 bond for "medical reasons" in a deal brokered with the help of Oman and Switzerland.
    • May 24, 2011: American boxing legend Muhammad Ali appeals for the immediate release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.
    • August 20, 2011: Iran sentences Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal to eight years in prison for entering the country illegally and spying for the U.S.
    • Sept. 13, 2011: Iranian President Ahmadinejad tells NBC television that he thinks Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal will be freed on humanitarian grounds within "a couple of days.
    • Sept. 21, 2011: Iran releases Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal on $500,000 bail each.

    Iran has released two American men convicted of espionage, ending a case that had worsened U.S.-Iranian relations for more than two years. 

    The two Americans, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were first handed over to Swiss authorities Wednesday afternoon under arrangements that are said to include a combined $1million in bail.

    The men later left Tehran's Evin prison, where they had been held since 2009, in the company of Omani envoys. Oman said it has provided an aircraft to fly the Americans out of Iran.

    A lawyer for the Americans broke the news of their imminent release earlier in the day.

    Masoud Shafiei said there had been a last-minute delay with the bail arrangement, but that the legal procedure was already finished.

    Bauer and Fattal, along with their friend Sarah Shourd, were arrested in 2009 along Iran's border with Iraq and charged with spying.  The men were convicted last month and sentenced to eight years in prison.

    All three have maintained their innocence, saying they had no intention of entering Iran while hiking and that the border was not clearly marked.  Iran released Shourd last year - a few weeks before the annual U.N. meeting - on $500,000 bail.

    Oman, which has also been helping to resolve the case, says its plane has been waiting since last week, when Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the pair were to be released with two days.

    That announcement was swiftly contradicted by the Iranian judiciary, raising questions about tensions within Iran's opaque power structure.

    The release Wednesday came after Ahmadinejad already left the country for his appearance at the United Nations.

    The director of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies, Ali Nourizadeh, says the delay in the release indicates a clear split between Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    "Prior to his trip to the United States, he wanted them to be released, just to make sure that he is going to use that credit in his journey to the United States.  Ahmadinejad loves to be interviewed, and if he managed to release them, then as soon as he arrived in the United States, there will be a pile of reporters waiting for him and he would have loved that.  But Khamenei deprived him and did not allow him to enjoy the benefit and also to have the credit," Nourizadeh said.

    Even if Ahmadinejad does not directly benefit from the release, the resolution of the case removes one of the many points of contention between Iran and Washington.  The U.S. cut relations in 1980 after the post-revolution seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and remains at odds with Iran's government over its anti-Israel policies and its disputed nuclear program.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.