Iran General NewsUS hikers' mothers say Iran using them as bargaining...

US hikers’ mothers say Iran using them as bargaining chips

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AFP: The mothers of three American hikers detained in Iran for a year said Monday that the latest comments from Tehran show Iranian officials are using their children as bargaining chips.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The mothers of three American hikers detained in Iran for a year said Monday that the latest comments from Tehran show Iranian officials are using their children as bargaining chips.

In a statement, the parents of Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, said Iranian officials have no evidence to back up new claims that the three Americans had threatened Iranian security.

“We wonder how many more times Iran is going to say that our children’s case is a judicial issue without doing anything at all to resolve it,” said the statement from Cindy Hickey, Nora Shourd and Laura Fattal.

The mothers said their three children are being held “in almost complete isolation without any semblance of due process in violation of Iranian and international law.”

“If Iran believes it has any reason to charge our children, it should do so without delay and give them a fair trial in a public court of law,” the mothers said.

“If it does not have any evidence against them — as we know to be the case — it should release them immediately.”

“Iran should stop dragging its feet and act according to its own laws or finally come clean and admit that it is holding our children as bargaining chips.”

The statement came a day after an Iranian official was quoted on state television as saying a probe was underway of the hikers’ “possible actions and intentions against the security of the Islamic Republic.”

Iranian officials have previously alleged that the three hikers planned to carry out “acts of espionage,” prompting denials from the US government and the Americans’ families.

The three were arrested on July 31, 2009 after they reportedly strayed into Iran from across the border with Iraq.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama called on Iran to “immediately release” the three hikers, saying they had never worked for the US government and had committed “absolutely no crime.”

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