The Iranian president says the country’s judicial system is responsible for issuing a ruling in the case of the three American hikers who were arrested near Iran’s border with Iraq on July 31.
Iran charged Shane Michael Bauer, Joshua Felix Fattal, and Sarah Emily Shourd with espionage on November 9.
The three entered the country to carry out acts of espionage, Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said at the time.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in Brasilia on Monday that the Judiciary will determine whether the hikers will be released or punished, but added that he hopes a lenient verdict will be issued.
He made the comments two days after Iraq had reportedly contacted Tehran to secure the release of the detained US citizens.