Klobuchar, Franken Relieved Iran Releases US Hikers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are relieved that two American men are now free after being jailed in Iran for more than two years on spying charges.

Franken says the families of Minnesota native Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal showed incredible strength and restraint while the two men were held in prison after being convicted by an Iranian court of spying for the United States.

“The families have been very strong, very disciplined. It would be easy for them to try to be mad at Iran and say things that wouldn’t be helpful,” said Franken. “If Americans and Minnesotans have the chance to meet the families, they would be extremely impressed.”

Franken said he saw a couple of pictures of Bauer and Fattal, and said they looked OK. He said he has not learned any more information about how they’re doing mentally or physically.

“We’ve been through a rollercoaster with this thing and I will really only breathe easily when Josh and Shane are out. Out of Iranian air space and back with their families who have been through an incredible ordeal,” Franken said.

The Minnesota Democrat and colleague Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced a resolution last year calling on the Iranian government to free the Americans, who, along with Sarah Shourd, were arrested in 2009 while hiking along the Iran-Iraq border.

“I’m looking forward to meeting Shane. I’ve obviously been working with the families who have been incredibly strong and also very concerned with how their kids are doing,” Franken said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar also released the following statements regarding the release of Bauer and Fattal.

“I am relieved that Shane and Josh have survived this nightmare and are returning home to their families. 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,” Klobuchar said. “I recently met with Shane’s mother in Pine City, MN, and as a mother myself I can only imagine how long and hard these two years have been for her and the rest of the families. I am overjoyed that they will finally be reunited.”

Both senators said they have met with and spoken repeatedly to the Swiss ambassadors to both the U.S. and Iran about the release.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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