I can't believe the Iranian government is still holding American tourists hostage more than a year after they allegedly crossed into Iranian territory while hiking the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. I admire those Americans who decided to spend their vacation hiking in northern Iraq. They should not have been taken hostage by Iranian goons.
I read somewhere that Sarah Shourd, the female tourist among them who was recently released, had to pay a half million dollars in "bail" for her release. Shouldn't the Iranian government be paying Shourd for the year of her life they took away from her? From this article I just learned that Oman mediated the bail. Bravo Oman! It's good to see Arab countries like Oman helping Americans.
"Her 410 days of solitary confinement in an Iranian prison were mostly cramped quarters and endless monotony, but Sarah Shourd chooses to savor the few moments of joy: a proposal from her boyfriend and a birthday celebration complete with a chocolate cake.
Shourd, her boyfriend Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal were captured in 2009 while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border. Shourd talked about her experiences Thursday with The Associated Press in one of her first interviews since her release on Sept. 14 after officials in Oman mediated bail."
Shourd was smart to meet with Ahmedinejad yesterday in New York to try to make him understand that she and her friends are not spies. Hopefully he will understand and release the two Americans still in a prison in Tehran.
I heard this on BBC the other day:
"Of all the places I have ever been to in Iraq, this is by far the most beautiful, and the most peaceful.
This is not the Iraq we know from our televisions screens. Not the Iraq of "Shock and Awe", nor the Iraq of the near-daily suicide bombings. This is Kurdistan.
Wedged in between the borders of Iran and Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan runs its own affairs in the north-east of the country. It is mountainous rather than flat, green rather than arid. And most importantly, it is relatively safe."