MINNEAPOLIS — The mothers of three American hikers held in Iran said they collected their visas yesterday and hope to travel to Tehran by early next week to visit them in prison.
Nora Shourd told the Associated Press that the family of Josh Fattal, 27, picked up the travel documents from the Iranian interest section in Washington, D.C.
“We’re really over-the-top excited about this,’’ Shourd said. “I can barely breathe this morning. We’ve waited for this so long. And it’s going to be wonderful to see these kids, absolutely wonderful.’’
Shourd’s daughter, Sarah, 31, has been held with Fattal and Shane Bauer, 27, since the three were arrested along the Iraqi border in July.
Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey of rural Pine City, Minn., said the families need to coordinate a number of things before they can leave, hopefully by early next week. She said visas were granted to her; to Shourd, of Oakland, Calif.; and to Laura Fattal, of suburban Philadelphia.
Aside from visiting their children, the three plan to meet with the Iranian attorney they hired months ago along with the Swiss ambassador in Iran. Swiss diplomats have visited the hikers in prison since the United States has no official presence in Iran.
Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said on state television this week that the Iranian government had ordered visas to be issued on humanitarian grounds.
Iran has accused the three friends of spying.