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Released US Hiker Unsure About Return to Iran

Sarah Shourd via video-link from Berkeley, California, during an exclusive interview with Voice of America's Persian News Network (PNN) -- watch the full interview below

An American hiker who spent more than a year in Iranian custody after she and two companions were accused of spying says she would be unable to return to Iran now for a trial.

Sarah Shourd told Voice of America's Persian News Network (PNN) Wednesday that she has been staying with her mother who is hospitalized with serious complications from a recent surgery. Shourd said she could not possibly leave her mother’s side at this time.

She also said she is “thinking very hard” about whether she could return to Iran in the future for a trial.

Iranian authorities arrested Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer last year for allegedly entering Iran unlawfully from Iraq. Tehran freed Shourd on a $500,000 bail in September, but the other two hikers remain in prison.

On Monday, an Iranian judiciary spokesman said the hikers’ November 6 trial had been delayed because Shourd had not returned to the country.

Shourd says she has received no official notice from Iran that the trial has been postponed.

On Sunday, Shourd told The New York Times that she and the other two Americans were on a path in Iraqi Kurdistan last year when a border guard of unknown nationality gestured for them to approach. She says when they reached the guard, he pointed to the ground and said “Iran,” and then pointed to the path they had come from and said “Iraq.”

Watch the full interview with Sarah Shourd: