Iran: We'll Free U.S. Hiker on $500K Bail

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

(CBS/AP) The lawyer of an American woman cleared for release from an Iranian prison said Monday he is still waiting for word that the $500,000 bail has been paid.

Masoud Shafiei said he had been in contact with the family of Sarah Shourd and the Swiss Embassy, which handles U.S. affairs in Iran because there are no diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran.

"I have spoken with Sarah's family and I urged them to provide the bail if they have access to it," said Shafiei.

Shafiei told CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer there had been no change in the case since Sunday when Iran's judiciary said the 32-year-old woman could be released on health grounds after more than a year in custody.

Palmer says, according to the lawyer, the delay may be the result of finding a way for Americans to transfer the funds into an Iranian account. Under current sanctions, it is illegal under U.S. law to transfer money to Iran.

Shourd and two U.S. companions were arrested in July 2009 along the border with Iraq.

Palmer reports that Shourd's friends, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, are to stay in jail. All three say they were visiting a famous beauty spot on the border between Iraq and Iran when they were arrested.

The Iranian government says they were spying, and prosecutors say they are now finalizing an espionage case against the two men.

The decision to release Shourd came after a power struggle within Iran's conservative leadership put her freedom in doubt.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had personally promised Shourd's release on Friday as a sign of Islamic compassion at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, but was quickly rebuked by the judiciary which proceeded to set its own conditions for a release, including the bail amount.


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