Freed American Reunited with Mom after Iran Ordeal

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An American hiker held for more than a year on charges of spying has been reunited with her mother in Muscat, Oman after being freed by Iranian authorities.

Sarah Shourd, 32, was released Tuesday on a bail of $500,000.  She is out of Iran and in Swiss custody, however, the future of her case is still unclear.  Shroud is obligated by Iranian law to travel back to the country for court proceedings, unless she chooses to avoid trial.

"I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all of the governments, all of the people, that have been involved, and especially, particularly want to address President Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials, the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture," Shourd said before boarding a plane in Tehran.  "I'm grateful and I'm very humbled by this moment."

President Barack Obama welcomed Shourd's release and urged Iran to "demonstrate renewed compassion by ensuring the return of Shane, Josh and all the other missing or detained Americans in Iran."

"I am very pleased that Sarah Shourd has been released by the Iranian government, and will soon be united with her family," Obama said in a statement. "All Americans join with her courageous mother and family in celebrating her long-awaited return home."

The long ordeal for Shourd and her two travel companions, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, began July 31, 2009, when they were arrested for crossing the Iraq border into Iran and accused of being spies.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally lobbied for Shourd's freedom, but Tehran's Islamic court delayed her release and then added the bail demand.

It is unclear whether Shourd will return to the Islamic Republic for her trial.

"I'm sure it will weigh heavily on her if they do ask for her to come back," Rudi Bakhtiar of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran told ABC News. "Nobody wants to think that two people's lives depend on them returning to a country."

In the meantime, Shourd's two traveling companions are still in custody and will be sent to the Revolutionary Court.

"There is no talk of releasing those two right now," Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said.

The mens' lawyer, however, said he's optimistic they will be coming home soon.

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at