Iraqi foreign minister: Envoys wait for 'next Iranian move' over jailed Americans

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

MUSCAT, Oman (AP) — Iraq's foreign minister says he and other international envoys are "waiting for the next Iranian move" on the case of two Americans jailed in Tehran as spies, but he's "optimistic" they'll be released soon.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been held in a Tehran prison since being arrested along Iran's border with Iraq's Kurdish region more than two years ago. The two men deny they were spying, but they were convicted in an Iranian court and each sentenced to eight years in prison.

Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Americans could be freed in a matter of days. But Iran's judiciary later said it was reviewing the bail provisions, which include payments of $500,000 for each man.

Iraq and Oman have sent high-level envoys to Tehran as part of the complicated judicial and diplomatic dealings. Swiss officials also are involved as representatives of U.S. interests in Iran, which has no diplomatic ties with America.

Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari tells The Associated Press that his country's leaders have urged Iran to release the Americans on humanitarian grounds.

(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)

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