Ahmadinejad: Captured US Hikers Must Be Punished

Iranian president links release of hikers to fate of detained diplomats
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2009 9:23 AM CDT
In this May 2009 photo provided Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009 by the Shourd family, Sarah Shourd, right, poses with her mother Nora Shourd in Damascus, Syria.    (AP Photo/Shourd family)
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(Newser) – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday dashed the hopes of parents of three American hikers who've been detained in Iran for 6 weeks, saying they broke the law when they strayed into Iranian territory from Iraq, and must be punished. The families had urged Ahmadinejad to bring the three with him when he visits New York to address the UN this week. The Iranian president instead suggested that the trio could be swapped for Iranian diplomats the US is accused of detaining in northern Iraq, Reuters reports.

The hikers' families need to know that "these individuals have trampled, have violated the law," Ahmadinejad said on the Today show. State Department officials say that the Iranians have failed to make the three jailed Americans available to the Swiss diplomats who represent US interests in Iran.