The mothers of the three American hikers detained in Iran today received visas to vist them, a week after the Iranian president told "Good Morning America" that he would make "recommendations" to the judge about the hikers' fate.
"We are delighted that, as Iran had promised us, we now have visas in our passports to travel to Iran and visit Shane, Sarah and Josh in Evin Prison," the mothers of the three hikers said in a statement.
The three hikers, Shane Bauer, 27; Sarah Shourd, 31; and Josh Fattal, 27; have been held in Iran without access to their families or a lawyer since July 31.
In a May 4 interview with "GMA" anchor George Stephanopoulos President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad initially said the decision was up to the judge. But after Stephanopoulos pressed, the Iranian president then admitted he would make "recommendations to the judge."
"My recommendation would be that he should cooperate, help them. But the judge is not under my influence," Ahmadinejad told Stephanopoulos.
The three Americans were reportedly hiking on a trail that winds along the unmarked Iran-Iraq border. The mothers said they hope to fly to Tehran early next week.
"We cannot wait to see our children after nine long and distressing months and are doing everything we can to arrive in Iran as quickly as possible," Nora Shourd, Cindy Hickey and Laura Fattal said in the statement.
Following Stephanopoulos' interview with Ahmadinejad, the three mothers told "GMA" they had asked Iranian officials to set aside politics and release their children.
"The two countries are at odds with each other and we don't want this mixed in with that," Cindy Hickey, mother of Shane Bauer, said on "GMA" last week.
"Stop playing games with our kids ... it just needs to end," Nora Shourd said.
The three mothers were in New York last week in hopes of meeting with Ahmadinejad when he came to the United States to speak at the United Nations' conference on nuclear non-proliferation.
"This stuff about 'it is in the hands of the judiciary' is just ridiculous. After nine months the kids haven't been interrogated, there is no reason for it to be delayed any longer," Hickey said on "GMA."
They never heard back about their request, but the women said if they'd had a chance to speak to the Iranian president they would have told him that their children are merely innocent hikers.
"If they crossed the border, he can talk to them and ask them about it. It is an alleged charge, we do not know if they crossed the border," Laura Fattal said. "And so I think any discussion with the three individuals will ensure the Iranian authorities that these young people had no intention of entering Iran."
Nora Shourd said they learned through a Swiss representative that the hikers are not doing well.
"Sarah is suffering from depression and talking about hunger strikes and we are really, really worried about them even more than we were before, if that is possible," Shroud said.