Catching a ride back home

On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, Iran announced the imminent release of one of the three American hikers detained within its borders last year. Iran did not initially specify which of the hikers would be sent home, but according to the BBC, it will be the lonewoman ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, Iran announced the imminent release of one of the three American hikers detained within its borders last year. Iran did not initially specify which of the hikers would be sent home, but according to the BBC, it will be the lonewoman of the group, Sarah Shourd.

In a similar move, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, pardoned and reduced the sentences of some Iranian prisoners as per the request of the Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani. While the Office of the Supreme Leader's website goes into more detail, these kinds of actions often fall in line with the spirit of the holidays during which the state tries to show a more compassionate side. (Someone must have not gotten the memo before the recent arrest of a prominent opposition lawyer, though).

So how does the Iranian government inform the world about releasing prisoners? A text message, of course. According to news reports, Iran's culture ministry texted reporters to notify them of the release, inviting them to the same hotel the hikers' mothers visited in May to see their children.

On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, Iran announced the imminent release of one of the three American hikers detained within its borders last year. Iran did not initially specify which of the hikers would be sent home, but according to the BBC, it will be the lonewoman of the group, Sarah Shourd.

In a similar move, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, pardoned and reduced the sentences of some Iranian prisoners as per the request of the Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani. While the Office of the Supreme Leader’s website goes into more detail, these kinds of actions often fall in line with the spirit of the holidays during which the state tries to show a more compassionate side. (Someone must have not gotten the memo before the recent arrest of a prominent opposition lawyer, though).

So how does the Iranian government inform the world about releasing prisoners? A text message, of course. According to news reports, Iran’s culture ministry texted reporters to notify them of the release, inviting them to the same hotel the hikers’ mothers visited in May to see their children.

Mohammad Sagha is an editoral researcher at Foreign Policy.

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