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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs