Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

While Ahmadinejad Speaks at UN, Hiker Sarah Shourd Appears on Oprah

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

While Ahmadinejad Speaks at UN, Hiker Sarah Shourd Appears on Oprah

Article excerpt

An Oprah episode will air Thursday with Sarah Shourd, as well as the mothers of the US hikers detained by Iran last year. Meanwhile, Iranian President Ahmadinejad is set to speak at the UN.

Speaking over laughter and singing, Laura Fattal described the segment she had just taped for "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

"Oprah's a great listener," gushed the mother of one of the American hikers detained by Iran last year.

Ms. Fattal appeared in the episode, which will air Thursday, with Sarah Shourd, who described her nearly 14-month detention in Iran with her fiance, Shane Bauer, and Fattal's son, Josh.

It was a moment of levity in a hard time. "We're thrilled that Sarah is out, but we've got two guys still in prison," Ms. Fattal said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Cindy [Hickey, Mr. Bauer's mother] and I are out of our minds."

Iran has claimed that the three American hikers entered Iran illegally and has accused them of espionage, a charge their families deny. Ms. Shourd was released Sept. 14, but Bauer and Mr. Fattal remain in Tehran's Evin Prison.

The three mothers of the American hikers also appeared on the Oprah show, and their appearance coincides with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech Thursday in front of the United Nations General Assembly (his second appearance at the UN this week).

(AHMADINEJAD:Cheap windbreakers, sensible shoes, conspiracy theories)

Before his arrival in New York, the mothers made public pleas for the Iranian leader to bring their children with him to New York or to meet with them while he is in town - requests they also made ahead Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit to the UN a year ago. Last year, those pleas went unanswered. With the release of Shourd last week, Ahmadinejad fulfilled part of their wishes.

For the past year, Ms. Fattal, Ms. Hickey, and Shourd's mother, Nora, have been working daily for the hikers' release. It has become their sole occupation, they say. With her return, Shourd has become the newest member of their team. …

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