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American Hikers Close to Trial

New America Media, Mary Ambrose Posted: Dec 15, 2009

The three American hikers who have been detained in Iran since they strayed into that country July 31 are going to stand trial, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Although he would not be pinned down as to the actual charges against the Americans, in a press conference Mottaki insisted that the hikers ''will be tried by Iran's judiciary system and verdicts will be issued. He said the three being held in Tehrans Evin prison were still being interrogated.

Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, were hiking in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region when they accidentally crossed into Iran, say their relatives.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Iranian move was ''totally unfounded.'' She again appealed to authorities to release the young people.

Recently, five British sailors were quickly released after they accidentally sailed into Iranian waters.

Theres hope that this announcement of a trial, will mean that the young people are convicted and then released, (Mary, are you saying you want them to be convicted, like Saberi was, and then released like she was?YES ) as happened to the American Iranian journalist Roxanna Saberi. She was released after being convicted by an Iranian court to eight years in prison. The accusations against the three Americans could be a first step in a similar move by Iran, with an aim towards squeezing concessions from the US government and its allies.

Recently, the US and its allies, in a UN-drafted document, gave Tehran till the end of the year to send most of their low-enriched uranium abroad. The detained young people are viewed as a bargaining chip in that negotiation.

But there are no simple endings to ratcheting up of tensions between Iran and the US.

Perhaps most keenly aware of their children being used as political pawns, all three families have declined comment on the announcement and nothing is on their website http://freethehikers.org about it.



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