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American mothers leave Iran without securing release of detained US hikers

The American mothers who traveled to Iran to see detained US hikers Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd have left the country without securing their children's release. They did get another visit with them today.

By Staff Writer / May 21, 2010

Shane Bauer, third right, speaks, as his mother Cindy Hickey, third left, Laura Fattal, right, and her son Josh Fattal, second right, Sarah Shourd, second left and her mother Nora Shourd, listen, during their meeting at the Esteghlal hotel in Tehran, Friday. The mothers of three Americans jailed in Iran met with their children Friday after an emotional reunion a day earlier in a Tehran hotel overlooking Evin prison, where the three have been held since their arrest in July.

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The mothers of three US hikers detained in Iran the past 10 months on spying charges have left the country without their children after a second reunion in Tehran today.

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They were unsuccessful in their attempts to bring home Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal, who were detained on the border with Iraq last July. But the release of two Iranians detained by the US and held for years in Iraq raised speculation that a prisoner swap deal could be in the works.

Iran has accused the three hikers, who it says entered Iranian territory illegally, of spying.

The case has not yet reached the courts in Iran, so Iranian officials say any talk of their release is premature. However, the hiker's Iranian lawyer conceded in an interview with the Associated Press that decisions could be made outside the normal legal framework and that "anything can happen."

Thursday’s meeting between the mothers and hikers, their first since their arrests last summer, was managed by the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which handles US interests in the Islamic Republic, and witnessed by a number of media outlets.

No cameras

No cameras or media were allowed to cover today’s meeting.

The hikers’ mothers had been hoping to make a face-to-face appeal to top Iranian leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, while they were in Iran.

The American mothers also met the mothers of five Iranian diplomats who were arrested in 2007 by US troops in Iraq on suspicion of aiding Shiite militants. Those five diplomats were held until 2009.

In their meeting, the Iranian women told the American mothers that during the time their sons were held in Iraq the US never gave them the chance to see them.

Related:

Clutching flowers, American mothers visit detained US hikers in Iran
Iran news coverage

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