Former Cal Grads Coming Home After 2 Years In Iranian Prison

MUSCAT, Oman (CBS / AP) — Two Americans freed from an Iranian prison told reporters Saturday they were “eager to go home” just before boarding their flight to the U.S. from Oman, the Gulf state that helped mediate their release after more than two years in custody on accusations of spying.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were scheduled to arrive home on Sunday, according to Samantha Topping, a spokeswoman for their families. The two were released from Tehran’s Evin prison under a $1 million bail deal and arrived in Oman on Wednesday in the first leg of their journey home. There they were reunited with joyful relatives.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry called their release a gesture of Islamic mercy.

Before boarding the plane in the Omani capital Saturday night, the former UC Berkeley graduate students made brief statements and thanked Oman’s ruler for helping secure their release.

“We hope to someday return to this wonderful country, but for now we are eager to go home at last,” Fattal said.

Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with the men along the Iran-Iraq border but released a year ago, was also in Oman and returning home with them and their families.

Bauer proposed marriage to Shourd while they were in jail.

The Americans denied the Iranian accusations and said they were just hiking in northern Iraq’s scenic Kurdish region when they might have unknowingly crossed the unmarked border with Iran in July 2009.

Bauer told reporters Saturday that he won’t forget the feeling of seeing their loved ones waiting for them in Oman.

“The joy of embracing them all after so long will stay with us forever,” Bauer said.

The plane was due to depart shortly after their statements, but reporters were denied access to the airport runway to see the plane take off.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • PLW

    As I understand, these 2 young men and 1 woman are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley… Maybe the University should offer a course on Common-Sense 101 informing the graduating students not to go hiking in a war zone as it could be hazardous to their well-being. Just a thought, but I realize common-sense is nonexistent in this modern world of today……

    • Moock

      So many young people think they are invincible – I cringe when I remember some of the things I wanted to do. However, with no trust fund, full time work was a necessity, and had the added benefit of keeping me from hiking in hostile countries…

  • Donald Sandri

    I hope someone does an in depth interview to find out just exactly what these guys were doing on the Iran/Iraq border hiking.. Also who paid the bail?

  • Tours Martel

    I only hope that the two getting married don’t reproduce. Some poor school teachers will have to educate the idiot child of senseless parents.

    As for UC Berkeley offering a course on Common Sense 101, well, physician heal thyself! The average UC student, professor, or administrator hasn’t got the sense God promised the parakeet.

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