TEHERAN, Iran – The family of an American woman detained in Iran for more than a year is appealing to authorities to drop a $500,000 bail for her release because they cannot afford it, her lawyer said Monday.
Masoud Shafiei told The Associated Press that Swiss diplomats acting on behalf of the US are asking that the bail be dropped or lowered for 32-year-old Sarah Shourd. Switzerland handles US affairs in Iran because the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.
"I am aware the Swiss are making this appeal," the lawyer said. "I remain hopeful. God willing, she will be released."
In Washington, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the Obama administration is in close contact with the families of the detained hikers and the Swiss Embassy.
"The situation is continuing to develop," Vietor said. "We remain hopeful for a positive outcome."
Shafiei said he had no word on Iran's response and gave no indication whether he thinks the bail appeals will delay or further complicate Shourd's release.