US Hikers Released after Two Years – SFCG Arranged Final Negotiations
In addition to International Peace Day, today SFCG is celebrating the release of Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, the American hikers imprisoned in Iran for more than two years. SFCG has worked toward the release of the American hikers since they were arrested in July 2009, through a continuous series of high level meetings and dialogues with individuals in the U.S. and Iranian governments, with third-party countries, as well as with the families of the hikers.
This culminated in last week’s trip to Iran by Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington. Ambassador (Ret.) William Miller, SFCG Senior Advisor, arranged for the two clerics to travel to Iran to meet with officials at the highest levels, including an hour-long meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“President Ahmadinejad told us that it was because of our presence that they were able to move the process forward in releasing the hikers,” said Bishop Chane.
Amb. Miller stated, “The return of the hikers to their families is an important step, a confidence-building measure, in the process of re-engagement and the restoration of friendly, normal relations between Iran and the United States.”
You can track the progress of their trip home through CNN’s live blog. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released last year on humanitarian grounds for medical reasons. She and Bauer became engaged during their imprisonment.
Search for Common Ground has been working towards improved relations between the United States and Iran since 1996.