FM: U.S. should release imprisoned Iranian citizens
The United States should take into account the release of American citizen Sarah Shourd by the Iranian government and release eight Iranians arrested in the U.S., Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the ILNA news agency.
Shourd's release is an example of respect for women's rights and a manifestation of Islamic goodwill to mark the holiday of Ramadan, Mehmanparast said at a news conference, adding, "Iran expects reciprocal steps from the U.S."
Joshua Felix Fattal, along with Shane Michael Bauer, and Sarah Emily Shourd, were arrested in the western Iranian district of Marivan, at the Malakh-Khur border point, in 2009, while they were hiking near Iran's border with Iraq. They were charged with illegally crossing the border and espionage.
However, the U.S. claims that the detainees were tourists who inadvertently crossed the border.
Earlier, Iran's Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said that the detained U.S. citizens can be exchanged for Iranian nationals who are under arrest in the U.S. In late May, the Iranian authorities gave permission to the mothers of the arrested Americans to see their children.
Shourd was released on bail of $500,000 on Sept.14.