Report: US men in Iran to be freed with Talabani help

September 15, 2011 19:19

TEHRAN - Two US citizens convicted of spying in Iran will be freed soon after Iraqi President Jalal Talabani negotiated their release with Iranian officials, an Iranian daily quoted an Iraqi envoy to Tehran as saying.

Shane Bauer, 28, and Josh Fattal, 29, were arrested on the border with Iraq in 2009 where they said they were hiking. They were found guilty of illegal entry and espionage and were sentenced last month to eight years in prison.

On Wednesday, Iran's judiciary rejected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that Bauer and Fattal would be freed "in a couple of days."

"The Iraqi president contacted top Iranian officials after the pair's families asked for his mediation ... They will be handed over to the Swiss embassy in Tehran early next week," the Thursday edition of Sharq daily quoted Nazem Dabbagh as saying.

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