NEW YORK — The mothers of three American hikers imprisoned in Iran for 10 months left yesterday to visit them and to try to persuade Iranian authorities to release their children.
The women hope their case ends like others in Iran over the past two years, when the government has detained and then freed foreigners.
Their children — Sarah Shourd, 31; her boyfriend, Shane Bauer, 27; and their friend Josh Fattal, 27 — have been held in Iran since July, when they were arrested along the Iraqi border. Nora Shourd, Cindy Hickey, and Laura Fattal, who have been granted visas, said they will ask Iranian leaders to release their children from prison.
“We’re going over as mothers to ask for humanitarian relief and we’re very confident,’’ Hickey said from a hotel in midtown Manhattan before leaving for Kennedy Airport. “We want to bring our kids home.’’
“I’m very excited,’’ she added. “I keep envisioning being able to give Shane a big hug.’’
The families say that their children were hiking in the scenic Kurdistan region of northern Iraq and that if they crossed the border, it was by accident. Iran has accused the three young friends of spying, but has not brought them to trial or publicly charged them with a crime.
Their trip is occurring as the United States announced it has agreed with China, Russia, and other major powers on a proposal for strong new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
The United States and Iran have not had formal diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Last week, Iran freed a young French academic convicted of provoking unrest and spying.