Just last month, it seemed like a pretty dismal situation for the long-detained American hikers who were jailed in Iran: they were sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted as spies. But this Tuesday saw a dramatic change in the fortunes of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. In an interview with NBC News, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that both hikers would be freed "in two days." The Associated Press additionally reported that the defense attorney for the duo said that an Iran court set bail of $500,000 for each hiker. What's the cause for such a turn around? Did Iran suddenly change its mind about their intentions? In assessing the sentencing last month, The New York Times noted that this plan may have been a PR move: "If Tehran is still planning to make a 'humanitarian gesture' in releasing them, then a harsher sentence would make the move appear all the more magnanimous, Iranian analysts said."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.