Moms of US detainees to get Iran visas
Iran’s foreign minister has confirmed earlier reports that Tehran is issuing visas for the mothers of three US nationals detained in Iran for illegally crossing the border.
Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, were arrested in the western Iranian city of Marivan for intruding into Iranian territory from Iraq in July 2009.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that the mothers of the three detainees will be granted Iranian visas on humanitarian grounds.
He added that Iran’s permanent UN mission in New York has been tasked with issuing the visas.
“The mothers of these three individuals can visit Iran’s mission to receive the visas and travel to Iran,” Mottaki said during a live television interview Monday evening.
Relatives of the detainees claim the three crossed Iranian border accidentally while hiking in a scenic area of northern Iraq.
Iranian officials, however, insist the three US citizens knowingly entered Iran as they ignored warnings by locals that they were crossing the border.
Tehran’s public prosecutor officially charged the trio with espionage in November 2009.
The Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Livia Leu Agosti who also looks after American Interests in Iran, has visited the three US detainees at Tehran’s Evin prison twice. She has described them in good physical condition.
Tehran and Washington ended their diplomatic relations following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Swiss Embassy has been representing US Interests in Iran since then.
It is not clear when and if the families of the three US detainees plan to travel to Iran.