Oman: No plans to free 2 other Americans in Iran

MUSCAT, Oman — Oman’s foreign minister said Friday he’s not aware of any plans for Iran to release two other Americans still being held there, but that his country stands willing to act as an intermediary between Tehran and Washington.

The Gulf sultanate played a key role in helping mediate the release of American Sarah Shourd from Iran on Tuesday. Two other Americans with whom she was arrested last year — Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal — are still being held in a Tehran prison on espionage charges.

Their families say Shourd’s departure from Iran gives them hope the two men might also be freed. The Americans’ mothers are calling on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to bring their sons with him when he comes to New York for the United Nations General Assembly next week.

But Oman’s foreign minister, Yusuf bin Alawai bin Abdullah, said there was no indication any deal is in the works.

“We would like to help and find ways and means to help,” he said by phone from the southern Omani city of Salalah. But he added, “at this moment there are no plans” for the other prisoners to be released.

To help secure Shourd’s release, Oman, which is considered an ally by both Washington and Tehran, played intermediary for a $500,000 bail that satisfied Iranian authorities and apparently did not violate U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

The 32-year-old Shourd left Tehran for Muscat aboard a royal Omani jet late Tuesday.


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