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White House `hopeful` but cautious on US hiker

US is "hopeful" Iran is set to release one of three American hikers, a top White House official said.

Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 22:17 PM IST

Washington: The United States is "hopeful"
Iran is set to release one of three American hikers, a top
White House official said on Sunday, while cautioning there had
been false starts before.

Sarah Shourd`s imminent release was first announced on
Thursday, but those hopes were dashed yesterday when a Tehran
prosecutor said the case was not yet resolved and she must
remain in detention.

The prosecutor relented today and granted Shourd bail on
health grounds on a surety of about USD 500,000. Shourd`s
lawyer Masoud Shafii said it was "possible" she would be freed
later today.

"Obviously we`re hopeful and encouraged by this news but
there have been starts and stops in this before and until that
actually happens, you know, we`re on a wait-and-see basis,"
White House advisor David Axelrod told NBC.

Shourd`s mother Nora told AFP last month her daughter was
being held in solitary confinement despite suffering from a
pre-cancerous cervical condition, a lump in her breast and
depression.

Shourd, 32, was arrested with fellow hikers Shane Bauer
and Josh Fattal on July 31, 2009 after straying across the
border from neighbouring Iraq.

PTI