By Frank James
In a piece of welcome news, Iran will allow the mothers of three young American hikers captured last year after, according to Iranian officials, the three entered Iranian territory.
An article in IRNA, the Iranian news agency, reports that the decision to allow the visit was made before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited New York recently for the United Nations' nuclear non-proliferation treaty conference.
The Iranians are framing their allowance of the visit as a humanitarian gesture. Of course, from the U.S. government's point of view, the true humanitarian act would be to release the hikers who if they did cross over the border into Iran did so by accident.
Tehran, May 11, IRNA -- IRI foreign minister said here Monday night in the name of humanity, Iran grants visas to mothers of the 3 arrested American citizens in Iran.
Manouchehr Mottaki who was speaking at Special News Talk section of the IRIB Channel 3 Late News edition, said, "The matter had been proposed in Tehran prior to the New York NPT Review Conference and due to humanitarian concerns it was agreed that visas would be issued for the mothers of these three people so that they would be able to come to Iran and visit their sons and daughter.
Pointing out that order for the issuance of visas is issued to the representative office of the Islamic Republic of Iran in New York, reiterating, "The mothers of these three people can refer to the Iranian Consular Office in New York, receive those visas, and come to Iran..."
... Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal (whose parents live in Elkins Park) were arrested in July after straying across the border from Iraq and illegally entering the soil of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
There are documents proving that the trio intended spying after crossing the border illegally, according to the Iranian concerned officials' remarks. Their relatives and the US government have denied the accusations of espionage, claiming they are merely mountaineers and have called for their release.