Mothers of U.S. Hikers Held in Iran Plead for Release

Iran Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal American hikers being held in Iran

The mothers of three U.S. hikers held in Iran without charges for nearly two months have written a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asking him to bring their children with him when the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New York City this month.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Laura Fattal were captured by Iranian authorities July 31, accused of illegally crossing the border while on a hiking trip in the picturesque mountains in Iraq.

VIDEO: The U.S. hikers mothers appeal to the president of Iran for childrens release.
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"We respectfully ask with humility to bring our children back. We miss them," Bauer's mother, Cindy Hickey, told "Good Morning America" today. "We know he's a father, too, so he can understand the absence and the hole this has left in our heart."

In the letter, delivered to the Iranian mission to the United Nations, they wrote: "Mr. President, we implore you to bring Shane, Sarah and Josh with you when you visit our country next week to address the General Assembly of the United Nations. Nothing would delight us more than to embrace our children and to express to you, in person, our profound gratitude for the kindness of the Iranian people."

Hickey, Shourd's mother, Nora Shourd, and Fattal's mother, Laura Fattal, reiterated that if their children crossed into Iran, they did so accidentally and with no malice.

"Please accept our regrets for any inconvenience or misunderstanding this unfortunate incident may have caused," they wrote in the letter.

"It just feels like Sarah's a million miles away," Nora Should told "Good Morning America."

"Our lives are on hold."

The mothers said the United Nations' General Assembly would be the perfect time for Ahmadinejad to show compassion for their children.

"It is a time where we applaud the peace and friendship among nations," Laura Fattal said.

The three hikers -- Bauer, 27, a freelance journalist; Shourd, 30, a writer and teacher; and Fattal, 27, an environmental worker -- were last seen July 31 as they set out for a hike in the mountains in the Kurdistan region of the country.

"It was inadvertent if they did stray into Iran," Nora Shourd said. "They're good hikers. They usually know where they're going."

Although the State Department has warned Americans about the risks of visiting that part of the world, Fattal's brother Alex said the Kurdistan area actually has a burgeoning tourist economy: The region is famous for its pistachio trees and stunning waterfalls.

Fattal originally traveled to the area to learn more about his family's roots. His father, Jacob Fattal, was born in Iraq. His mother said she worries about his day-to-day activities and how he's faring in captivity.

"Are they being fed? Does he shower?" Laura Fattal asked. "Where is he sleeping?"

Shourd, although originally from California, had spent time working in the Middle East.

"They're meticulous planners," Chris Rapp, Shourd's brother, said last month. "Typically, they're very careful about where they are and what they're doing."

Nevertheless, the hikers unknowingly strayed into Iran, near the Iraqi border town of Ahman Awah, and were taken into custody.

State Department Calls Notion Hikers Were Spying in Iran 'Ridiculous'

Family members of the hikers told "Good Morning America" last month that the area is heavily wooded with few markings that would indicate the exact location of the border.

"There's not like a big sign saying, 'You're about to go into Iran,'" Shannon Bauer, Shane Bauer's sister, said.

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