Sarah Shourd, the American hiker freed from Iranian captivity after more than a year, spoke today on American soil publicly for the first time, thanking those who helped and calling for a similar release for her fiance and friend who remain in captivity.
"This is not the time to celebrate," Shourd told reporters from New York City. "My disappointment at not sharing this with [fiance Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal] was crushing. And I stand before you today only one-third free.
"I walked out of prison with my spirit bruised but unbroken and I am more determined than ever that Shane and Josh, God willing, insha-Alla, will soon walk out the same way," Shourd said.
Shourd, Bauer and Fattal, were arrested while hiking in July 2009 for allegedly crossing into Iran from Iraq. For the last 14 months, the three had been held in Tehran, Iran's Evin prison under accusations of espionage.
"We committed no crime and we are not spies," Shourd said. "We in no way intended any harm to the Iranian government or its people and believe a huge misunderstanding led to our detention and prolonged imprisonment."
Shourd was released Tuesday with a guarantee of $500,000 bail, in part due to concerns over what her lawyer called her deteriorating medical condition. She reportedly suffers from a serious gynecological condition and found a possibly cancerous lump in her breast.
Doctors in Oman, where Shourd stopped over before returning to the United States, checked her out and declared her "physically well," Shourd said.
Now that she is back, Shourd said she will turn all her attention to gaining freedom for the remaining hikers.
"My work is cut out for me and I need all the help I can get," Shourd said. "I ask anyone that cares about Shane and Josh's freedom to stand behind us now."
The mothers of the other two hikers stood by Shourd as she spoke. The day after Shourd was released, the mothers of the other two captives made an impassioned plea directly to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to free their sons on "Good Morning America."
"Josh and Shane are still detained in Iran, as you well know," Laura Fattal said of her son Josh Fattal and his friend, Shane Bauer, directly addressing Ahmadinejad. "We thank you for bringing Sarah home, but now it is time [to] bring Josh and Shane home. We urge you ... to show the same compassion you had for Sarah to bring Josh and Shane home."
"I was very happy for Sarah and her mom," Cindy Hicky, Bauer's mother, said. "But very sad that Shane wouldn't be coming with her. ... How hard it must have been for them to separate."
Shourd's arrival in New York coincided with that of Ahmadinejad, who will be in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.
"We hope they appreciate this job," Ahmadinejad said in a state TV interview broadcast Friday night, in regards to Shourd's release.
"They violated the law," he said of the hikers on ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour. "Do you want violators to be released? Is that what you're asking me?
"It would not be misplaced to ask that the U.S. government should take a humanitarian gesture to release the Iranians who were illegally arrested and detained here in the United States," Ahmadinejad said.
Before leaving Iran earlier this week, Shourd singled out President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a statement of gratitude on Iranian TV.