International

Iran Postpones Release Of U.S. Hiker Sarah Shourd

Detained US hikers Shane Bauer (2nd-L),

Detained U.S. hikers Shane Bauer (l), Sarah Shourd (c) and Josh Fattal (r) with their mothers during a May 2010 reunion in Tehran. ATTA KENARE/AFP hide caption

itoggle caption ATTA KENARE/AFP

Discouraging news from Iran on Friday. Iranian news services are reporting that the Iranian government has postponed the release of Sarah Shourd, 31, one of three U.S. hikers, who've been detained in Iran since July 2009.

One news service, the Iranian Labour News Service, reported that Tehran's prosecutor, Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi, indicated that Shourd's release was being delayed because the legal steps required for her freedom hadn't been completed.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) also said Shourd's release was being held up, attributing the information to the Iranian deputy director of communications. IRNA also referred to her as a spy.

On Thursday, an Iranian official said the government would release Shourd as a humanitarian gesture to mark the end of the religious celebration Ramadan.

Shourd is known to be ill, with her mother saying her daughter has discovered a suspicious lump in a breast and has some precancerous cervical cells.

The Iranians didn't indicate when Shourd's release would be rescheduled.

Shourd was detained with two other Americans, Shane Bauer, 27, and Josh Fattal, 27, last summer when Iranians arrested them, saying they had crossed the border from Syria into Iran. Iran has also accused them of espionage.

U.S. officials have insisted that the three never crossed the border into Iran.

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