Iran to free female American for holiday clemency


Iran said Thursday it will free Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans jailed for more than 13 months, as an act of clemency to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The imprisonment of the Americans has deepened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, a relationship already strained over Washington’s suspicions that Tehran is trying to manufacture nuclear weapons — something Iran denies.

Bak Sahraei, the second counselor of Iran’s UN mission sent an e-mail confirming the release of Shourd, following up an earlier text message from the Culture Ministry telling reporters them to come to a Tehran hotel on Saturday morning to witness the release.

The site is the same one where the three were allowed the only meeting with their mothers since they were detained in July 2009.

Iran claims they illegally crossed the border from Iraq’s northern Kurdish region and had threatened to put the three on trial for spying. Their families say they were hiking in the largely peaceful region of Iraq and that if they crossed the border, it was accidental.

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