A glimmer of good news from Iran:

Iran freed Sarah Shourd, 32, after a $500,000 bail was paid to win her freedom [following a year-long imprisonment]. However, the case that has deepened strains between the U.S. and Iran was still far from resolved. ...

"I want to really offer my thanks to everyone in the world, all of the governments, all of the people, that have been involved, and especially, particularly want to address President Ahmadinejad and all of the Iranian officials, the religious leaders, and thank them for this humanitarian gesture," Shourd told Iran's English-language Press TV at the airport before she boarded her flight out. "I'm grateful and I'm very humbled by this moment," she added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Shourd was being released on compassionate grounds because of health reasons. Her mother says she has serious medical problems, including a breast lump and precancerous cervical cells.

Her release is bittersweet, however; fiance Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal are still imprisoned. Robert Mackey is all over the story and provides video, statements from the family and officials, and several updates. Rasha Elass fumes:

Shame on Iran for putting Sarah Shourd's family and friends through so much heartache. First it was the ecstatic news of her pending release just a few days ago, only for that to be cancelled and then -- surprise -- a demand for "bail." Call it what you will, but is it not increasingly beginning to sound like a ransom?

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