Now It's Not Clear When (or If) Iran Will Release American Hikers

A day after Ahmadinejad's hopeful remarks, other Iranian officials backpedal

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It appears that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad either misspoke or just didn't have the authority to grant the release of two long-detained American hikers convicted of spying by Iran. Yesterday, he told NBC News that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal would be freed "in two days." Iran judiciary officials cited by the same American news outlet are now saying that the optimistic timetable is flat wrong:

"The two Americans are going to stay in prison for a bit longer," Iran's English-language Press TV quoted the official as saying. "Reports of their imminent release are wrong." goes on to add that their interpretation is "that the bail plan for Bauer and Fattal still needs to be approved by the higher ranks Iran's legal system, which include members of the theocracy's inner circle — a potentially embarrassing rejection of Ahmadinejad's prediction of the Americans' imminent release." Which makes it sound as if there's a lot of red tape to jump through before the hikers will actually make it back stateside.

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