Sarah Shourd Leaves Middle East, But Two Men Remain Imprisoned in Iran

Sarah Shourd thanks Oman but asks for prayers for her fiance and friend.

ByABC News
September 18, 2010, 4:58 PM

Sept. 18, 2010 -- Sarah Shourd, the American hiker who was released from an Iranian prison earlier this week after a 14-month detention, arrived back in the United States early Sunday.

Shourd arrived at Dulles International Airport at 6:30 a.m. today accompanied by her mother and uncle. She and her mother Nora then left for New York, where later today they will hold a press conference with the parents of Shourd's fiancé, Shane Bauer, and her friend Josh Fattal, who are still being held in Iran.

Shourd's arrival in New York will coincide with that of Iranian President Mahmoud 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. It is believed that he hopes the United States will release Iranians being held, according to The Associated Press.

"They violated the law," he said on ABC's 'This Week.' "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.

Speaking to a crowd of international media at Oman's airport yesterday, Shourd asked supporters to pray for her two hiking companions who are being held on charges of spying.

"Please, please extend your prayers," Shourd said.

She also thanked Oman for mediating the $500,000 bail Iran required for her release Tuesday.

"I'll always associate your country with the first breath of my freedom, the sweet smell of sandalwood and a chance to stand by the ocean listening to the waves," she said of Oman, adding that she hopes to return one day with Bauer and Fattel.

Shourd, 32, had been detained since 2009 when she, Bauer and Fattal were arrested and accused of espionage.  They were picked up after allegedly crossing into Iran from Iraq in July 2009. 

She was granted freedom after discovering a lump in her breast, but not before making a guarantee of $500,000 bail.