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Iranian Envoy: Rapid Release of US Nationals Unlikely

Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran

Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danayeefar dismissed the possibility for the rapid release of the three American nationals who have been detained by Iranian security forces after crossing the country's borders with Iraq illegally in July 2009.

Sarah Shourd (L), Shane Bauer (C) and Josh Fattal

Iran's ambassador to Baghdad rejected reports about a "very soon" release of the US nationals detained in Iran on charges of espionage and illegal entry, saying their case is still under investigation.

Iran's judiciary is still probing into their case, Danayeefar said on Saturday.

"At the insistence of the US reporter on the time the two suspects will be released, I emphasized that investigation into their case has not been completed yet," he told the Islamic republic news agency.

"I told the reporter that war is an inappropriate event in human life and merely wished all inmates will be freed," he went on to say.

The Associated Press (AP) on Thursday quoted Danayeefar as saying he expects Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 29, will be released "very soon", especially during the holy month of Ramadan, which began in Iran on Tuesday.

The Iranian envoy further explained that the AP reporter misinterpreted his remarks that pardons are handed down during Ramadan and stated that he made no words about an upcoming release of the two American suspects.

The fourth and final trial session to address the charges against Sarah Shourd, Bauer and Fattal was held on July 31st in Branch 15 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court.

The session was held behind closed doors in the absence of Shourd, who was released in September 2010 on bail.

Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal and Sarah Shourd were arrested in July 2009 after illegally crossing the border into Iran from the mountains of northern Iraq's Kurdistan region.

They were later charged with espionage after Tehran prosecutor's office announced that it possessed "compelling evidence" indicating that the three Americans were cooperating with US intelligence agencies.

Iran released Shourd on a bail of $500,000 in September 2010, 14 months after her arrest. The decision was taken due to the detainee's health condition.

... Payvand News - 08/08/11 ... --

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