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 or media were allowed to cover today’s meeting.
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.