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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora