Nightly News | September 14, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Overseas tonight, the American hiker Sarah Shourd is free tonight after more than a year in a famous prison there in Iran . But the story isn't over. Our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is in Tehran reporting on the fate of Shourd and the two American men who traveled with her and are still being held captive there tonight. Andrea , good evening.
ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Good evening, Brian . Thirty-two -year-old Sarah Shourd is a free woman tonight after more than an a year in an Iranian prison, even while her fiance, Shane Bauer , and their friend Josh Fattal remain behind bars. Not quite home, but reunited with her mother and uncle after an international rescue as dramatic as her capture 14 months ago, when the three hikers say they accidently crossed an unmarked border into Iran . Pale and thin after her ordeal, Sarah Shourd said she was grateful even to Iran for letting her go.
Ms. SARAH SHOURD (Freed United States National): I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all the governments, all of the people that have been involved, and I especially in particularly want to address President Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials and the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture.
MITCHELL: But in a carefully staged interview with an adviser to Iran 's President Ahmadinejad , Shourd pointedly appealed for the release of her fiance, Shane Bauer , and their friend Josh Fattal , both 28 years old.
Ms. SHOURD: I have a huge debt to repay the world for what it's done for me, and my first priority is to help my fiance, Shane Bauer , and my friend Josh Fattal to gain their freedom, because they don't deserve to be in prison anymore.
MITCHELL: Tonight in New York , Josh 's mother Laura Fattal .
Ms. LAURA FATTAL: I'm very happy, but it was very bittersweet because I want to have that same happiness, and I know Cindy does, too, and we want Josh and Shane home as soon as possible.
MITCHELL: Last January, Shane and Sarah became engaged in the prison yard during the one hour a day she wasn't in solitary confinement. The ring? Some string he pulled together and tied into a knot. Now they're separated again, as she was swept from prison to a sleek private jet owned by the government of Oman . Did the wealthy gulf state pay the half a million dollar bail Iran was demanding, which the US refused to pay?
Mr. P.J. CROWLEY (State Department Spokesman): You're asking if money has changed hands, and the short answer is we don't know.
MITCHELL: Tonight, Iran said that it released Sarah Shourd on compassionate grounds because she had medical problems, but the prosecutor here said that the two men will have to stand trial on charges of spying. Brian :
WILLIAMS: Now, Andrea , as we were watching this unfold, even before you left to go there, all these fits and starts, she's not being released, then she's being released.
WILLIAMS: What's been going on the whole time behind the scenes?
MITCHELL: Well, there are reports of divisions in the government here in the regime, and the judiciary wanting to keep her in jail, but President Ahmadinejad and his supporters won out, and she finally was released. But it certainly has raised a lot of concern and a lot of issues about what is really going on here.
WILLIAMS: All right, Andrea Mitchell on the job and on the story.
MITCHELL: Brian :
WILLIAMS: In Tehran tonight. Andrea , thanks.