U.S. urges Iran to release three Americans

10:51, April 24, 2010      

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The United States on Friday urged Tehran to release immediately three American hikers detained for about nine months, saying there is no justification for their ongoing detention in Iran.

"We continue to call for their release and request the families are granted visas to Iran to visit their children soon," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, adding that the families are concerned over their children's physical and emotional health.

The three Americans, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, were arrested in Iran on July 31 last year after they illegally entered the country from its western boarders. The Iranian authorities have warned that the three could be trialed in the country.

"They were simply innocent tourists in the Iraq Kurdistan region when they were first detained. There is no justification for their ongoing detention. They should be released without further delay," said Crowley.

Early in February, the Obama administration rejected a proposal by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that some Iranians in U.S. prisons be swapped for the three American citizens being held in Tehran.

Tehran claims that at least 11 Iranians have been detained in the United States, and that among them are a nuclear scientist who disappeared in Saudi Arabia and a former Defense Ministry official who was missing in Turkey.

Source: Xinhua


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