Iran balks at release of American woman

September 11, 2010 19:35

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian judicial authorities who reversed plans to release a detained American woman have insisted she and two friends will remain in custody until legal procedures have been exhausted.

Saturday's statement by Tehran's chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, was a further blow to the trio's families.It did not specify whether the decision means there will have to be a trial — which could take weeks or months — or another form of case review.

Sarah Shourd had been due to be released Saturday, but judicial officials blocked the plan at the last minute.

The about-face is an embarrassment to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had reportedly personally intervened in Shourd's case as an act of clemency at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

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