In a passionately worded letter, the mothers of three American hikers detained in Iran hoped to assure Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad their children are “respectful and caring young people” who never meant any harm after straying in his country during a hiking trip in July.
“We are certain that if they crossed the border, it can only be by accident. They had no reason to go to Iran. Please accept our regrets for any inconvenience or misunderstanding this unfortunate accident may have caused,” the mothers wrote.
In the one-page letter written by Cindy Hickey, Nora Shourd and Laura Fattal, the women urged Ahmadinejad to bring their children -- Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, -- home to them when he visits to the U.S. on Wednesday to address United Nations General Assembly in New York. Fattal is from Elkins Park, Pa.
“Nothing would delight us more than to embrace our children and to express to you, in person, our profound gratitude for the kindness of the Iranian people,” the mothers wrote.
Josh's brother Alex said he and his mother Laura were encouraged by an interview Ahmadinejad gave to NBC’s Ann Curry last week.
“I am not happy that they have been arrested,” Ahmadinejad told Curry. “But these individuals have violated our borders.” He added that he would entertain the families’ requests if the U.S. releases Iranians who are “in U.S. prisons right now for no good reason.”
While the comments were promising, the U.S. State Department said there is no indication Ahmadinejad will bring the three with him.
The three, who were accused by the Iranian government as being CIA agents, were detained after they strayed into Iranian territory while hiking in Iraq.
Bauer is a freelance journalist for Pacific News Service. He was there with his girlfriend Sarah and Fattal, covering the elections in Kurdistan, according to his editor.