Senators ‘relieved’ by the release of American hikers held in Iran

WASHINGTON — Minutes after news broke that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal had reunited with their families in Oman, Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken released a statement saying they were “relieved” that the ordeal surrounding the American hikers detained by the Iran government had ended.

Bauer and Fattal had been held in Iranian custody for two years after they were arrested while hiking on the Iran-Iraq border and accused of being spies. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released last year. Bauer is a former Minnesotan.

Klobuchar and Franken had sponsored a resolution calling for their release, and taken diplomatic steps on their behalf.

“I am relieved that Shane and Josh have survived this nightmare and are returning home to their families,” Klobuchar said. “Iran’s initial arrest of the three young hikers and continued detention and conviction of Shane and Josh was unwarranted, and the conflicting reports from Iranian officials regarding the men’s status only added to the heartbreak and emotional stress for their loved ones.”

“I’m very relieved that Shane and Josh’s ordeal is over,” Franken said. “I’m thrilled that they are being reunited with their families, who have suffered so much and who have been so strong over the last two years. I look forward to finally meeting Shane the next time I see his mother, Cindy.”

President Barack Obama also released a statement, saying, “I welcome the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal from detention in Iran and am very pleased that they are being reunited with their loved ones. The tireless advocacy of their families over these two years has won my admiration, and is now coming to an end with Josh and Shane back in their arms. All Americans join their families and friends in celebrating their long-awaited return home.”

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com

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