Freed hiker wants closer ties to Iran

Dec. 7, 2010 at 3:12 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Sarah Shourd, one of three U.S. hikers held by Iran after straying too close to its border with Iraqi Kurdistan, called Tuesday for better U.S.-Iran relations.

In an op-ed piece published on the CNN Web site, Shourd said she supports closer ties for personal reasons as well as political conviction. Shourd was released on bail after 410 days in Evin Prison in Tehran, but her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend, Josh Fattal, remain prisoners.

Shourd said that the three of them would never have spent so much time in prison facing trial on trumped-up charges if the United States and Iran had normal diplomatic relations. She also described her relationship with a female guard who brought her roses and tried to reassure her about the future, hugging her and telling her: "God willing, Sarah, it's going to be all right."

The talks in Geneva, Switzerland, this week over Iran's nuclear program are a hopeful sign, Shourd said.

"There is a long way to go toward overcoming the animosities of three decades, but now is the best time for dialogue," she said. "When I ask my government, and the Iranian government, to seize this opportunity, I'm thinking of the future. I'm thinking about the children I hope to have someday and about my children's children."

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