Iran seeks Omani mediation in release of prisoners from US

H E Hossein Noushabadi, Iran’s Ambassador to Oman (Muscat Daily)

Muscat - 

Following the successful mediation by Oman in the release of three American hikers from Iran, authorities in the Islamic Republic are urging the sultanate to play a similar role in getting Iranian nationals released from US prisons.

“We hope that the role of Oman is not limited to the release of American prisoners. The sultanate must also help Iran in getting freedom for our innocent prisoners in the US,” Iran’s Ambassador to Oman, H E Hossein Noushabadi, told Muscat Daily.

H E Noushabadi made a special mention of Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, a 33 year old mother of twin daughters, who has been detained in the US since 2007 for her alleged involvement in the attempted export of night-vision equipment to Iran.

“She has been wrongly accused and she is in a very bad condition in American prison. We have already sent letters to the US authorities through Oman but despite all our efforts, we haven’t received any reply. We would like Oman to use its influence to mediate for her release,” H E Noushabadi said.

According to Iranian news reports, Shahrzad’s family has received no response from the US to its request for visas to visit her in jail. H E Noushabadi pointed out that Iran had allowed the mothers of all the three American hikers - Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd - to visit them in a Tehran jail in May 2010. Shourd was released in September 2010. Fattal and Bauer were released last month.

“Iran has always shown humanitarian gestures but the American authorities have never responded positively,” said H E Noushabadi. “In fact, after Iran’s goodwill gesture [of releasing the hikers], we haven’t heard a single positive statement by any US official. Unfortunately, even the families of the American spies didn’t offer a word of thanks to Iran when they were in Muscat.”

The Iranian Ambassador stressed that the American hikers were released on bail as per the law and that the trial against them will continue in an Iranian court. “If the court feels the need to summon them (the hikers), they must make themselves present for the trial. They were released primarily due to Oman’s mediation and the strong historic relations between Iran and the sultanate,” he said.

Emphasising that Oman must play a bigger role in the region, H E Noushabadi said, “Having friendly relations with all the nations in the region, Oman should use its influence and ability to resolve regional and international problems.”

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