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U.S. Remains Hopeful Of Release Of U.S. Hikers

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is still hopeful Iran will keep a pledge to release soon American hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington remains hopeful Iran will release two U.S. hikers and is not too concerned by Tehran's delay in carrying out a pledge to free them earlier this week.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told U.S. TV earlier this week that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal would be released soon as a goodwill gesture before he heads to the United Nations in New York to take part in the General Assembly.

However, Iran's judiciary said on September 14 that no release was planned soon.

Clinton said the United States had been assured by a number of sources both publicly and privately that the two men would be freed.

"I'm going to count on the Iranian government fulfilling the announcement that was made by the leadership of the country and hope that it can be expedited and we can see their release very soon," she said.

Bauer and Fattal were convicted of spying after straying into Iran from Iraq while hiking in July 2009. In August, they were sentenced to eight years in jail.

A third American with them, Sarah Shourd, was allowed to go home in September 2010 on $500,000 bail.

Their lawyer said on September 13 the two American men would be released on $500,000 bail each.

The two share a cell in Tehran's infamous Evin prison.

compiled from agency reports