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Klobuchar criticizes Iran for detaining hikers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar took aim at Iran today over the detention of three hikers detained in that country on what she called “baseless” accusations of espionage.

Klobuchar’s remarks came four months to the day after Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were arrested for trespassing into Iran while on a hiking trip in northern Iraq. Bauer, a freelance journalist based in Damascus, Syria, is a Minnesota native. Klobuchar said the three “accidentally strayed across the poorly-marked border between Iraq and Iran,” language that has been echoed by Swiss diplomats who have been interceding in the matter with the Iranian government on the United States’ behalf.

Iranian authorities have denied requests by Bauer, Shourd and Fattal’s families to speak with them and have refused to provide the trio with information on any potential charges.

“There is no cause for their continued detention and nothing will be gained by prolonging it any further,” Klobuchar said. Iran’s leaders should demonstrate the necessary compassion by releasing Shane, Sarah and Josh and allowing them to return home to their families.”

Unfortunately for the three, Klobuchar was speaking to the diplomatic equivalent of a brick wall. Iran has thumbed its nose at several diplomatic entreaties since the controversial reelection of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For example, Iran recently announced it would expand its nuclear program, counteracting in one broad stroke years of delicate international negotiations aimed at reducing or ending its nuclear capabilities.

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