Iran General NewsUS must free Iranians in return for freed hiker:...

US must free Iranians in return for freed hiker: Ahmadinejad

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AFP: The United States must free Iranians it is holding after Tehran freed American woman hiker Sarah Shourd, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday.

TEHRAN (AFP) — The United States must free Iranians it is holding after Tehran freed American woman hiker Sarah Shourd, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday.

“We don’t have any expectation in return for this job (releasing Shourd),” Ahmadinejad said in an interview with state television.

“But naturally and ethically the US government should take a step and release several Iranians it has caught in Thailand, Georgia and elsewhere, or inside the US for exporting certain goods,” he said.

Iran released Shourd, 32, on Tuesday after holding her along with fellow hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal for more than a year. The three were arrested on July 31, 2009 after straying into Iran from Iraq.

The authorities have charged them with “spying and illegally entering the country.”

“The Islamic republic did this unilateral, humanitarian act. We hope that they appreciate the Islamic republic’s deed and do something humanitarian,” Ahmadinejad said on Friday.

He added the sultan of Oman had undertaken “a lot of” effort in helping to secure Shourd’s release, after which she was reunited in Oman with her mother who has told US media her daughter suffers from a lump in her breast and a cervical condition.

Shourd was freed despite criticism within the Iranian judiciary of Ahmadinejad’s government for interfering in its work, and some lawmakers even directly attacked the president for pushing for her release.

She was released after bail of around 500,000 dollars was paid.

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