Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Iran 'releases American woman'

American hiker Sarah Shourd, 32, poses for a photograph at Mehrabad airport, prior to leaving Tehran. (AP)

An American woman released by Iran after more than a year in prison has flown out of the country to the nearby Gulf nation of Oman to be reunited with her mother.

However, Iranian authorities said they were not considering the immediate release of the two Americans arrested with 32-year-old Sarah Shourd.

Iran has charged all three with spying, though their families say they were innocent hikers arrested in a scenic mountain area along Iran's border with Iraq.

The families of Ms Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal greeted the news of her release with mixed emotions.

"All of our families are relieved and overjoyed that Sarah has at last been released, but were also heartbroken that Shane and Josh are still being denied their freedom for no just cause," they said in a statement.

Ms Shourd's mother Nora said she had hoped and prayed for her release for 410 days.

"I cannot wait to wrap Sarah in my arms and hold her close when we are finally together again," she said.

"Sarah has had a long and difficult detainment and I am going to make sure that she now gets the care and attention she needs and the time and space to recover.

"I can only imagine how bittersweet her freedom must be for her, leaving Shane and Josh behind."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Ms Shourd was being released on compassionate grounds because of health reasons. Her mother says she has serious medical problems, including a breast lump and precancerous cervical cells.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz