WASHINGTON - The US State Department on Thursday urged Iran to release all three detained American hikers after Tehran announced it will release one of them on Saturday.
"If this turns out to be true, this is terrific news. The hikers' release is long overdue," said department spokesman Mark Toner.
But Toner urged Iran to release all three hikers instead of only one, saying the US has called for their release "on humanitarian grounds for many, many months."
The three Americans, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, were arrested in Iran on July 31 last year after they illegally entered the country from its western borders.
They were charged with espionage last November, which the US government considered totally unfounded and said they should be freed.
In May, the mothers of the three Americans were allowed by Iranian government to meet their children in Tehran.