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US ties scientist's Iran return, US hikers' fate

 Shahram Amiri, center, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, flashes a victory sign at the conclusion of his news briefing as he a...
 Shahram Amiri, center, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, holds his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein at the conclusion of his news b...
 Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, wipes sweat during his news briefing while holding his 7-year-old son Amir Ho...
 Shahram Amiri, center, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, makes his way for a news briefing with his 7-year-old son Amir Hossei...
  Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, left, holds onto his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein while listening to a question during a news briefing at th...
  Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, left, who disappeared a year ago, stands with his father, no name available, as he flashes a V-victory sign...

Mideast Iran Missing Scientist

Shahram Amiri, center, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, flashes a victory sign at the conclusion of his news briefing as he a...

Mideast Iran Missing Scientist

Shahram Amiri, center, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, holds his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein at the conclusion of his news b...

Mideast Iran Missing Scientist

Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, wipes sweat during his news briefing while holding his 7-year-old son Amir Ho...

Mideast Iran Missing Scientist

Shahram Amiri, center, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, makes his way for a news briefing with his 7-year-old son Amir Hossei...

Mideast Iran Missing Scientist

Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, left, holds onto his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein while listening to a question during a news briefing at th...

Mideast Iran Missing Scientist

Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, left, who disappeared a year ago, stands with his father, no name available, as he flashes a V-victory sign...

The Obama administration on Thursday stepped up calls for Iran to release three American hikers and said they should receive the same treatment as an Iranian scientist allowed to return home from the United States.
The State Department said the arrival in Tehran of Shahram Amiri after more than a year in the U.S. under mysterious circumstances demonstrated the kind of freedom the hikers' deserve. The department also urged Iranian authorities to be forthcoming with information about the fate of an ex-FBI agent last seen in Iran in 2007.
Spokesman P.J. Crowley denied that any kind of swap was being negotiated, but stressed that Amiri's "return to Iran should underscore that we expect the same kind of treatment for our citizens."
"He chose to go home and we freely allowed him to do that," Crowley told reporters.
The hikers _ Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal _ were arrested near the Iran-Iraq border on July 31, 2009, and have been jailed without charge since. The U.S. government and their families say they were on an innocent hike; Iranian officials have accused the three of spying.
"We believe strongly that they should be released on humanitarian grounds," Crowley said.
Amiri, who a U.S. official says was paid $5 million by the CIA, returned to Iran to a hero's welcome. He claims he was kidnapped and brought to the U.S. against his will. U.S. officials have denied that he was abducted.
The hikers' mothers released a letter they sent to the head of Iran's judiciary appealing for an end to what they called the "unjust and arbitrary detention" of their children.
Cindy Hickey, Bauer's mother, noted Amiri's return and said, "I can't help but be hopeful this might loosen things up a bit."


Updated : 2021-04-17 11:23 GMT+08:00