In an interview with the Washington Post, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad promised a pardon for the two American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who have been imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage for the past two years.
He's promised their release in "a couple of days." Of course, given the religious atmospherics at play in Iran, his decision could be overturned the cabal of Shi'a clerics gathered around Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
According to their attorney, the plan is to release them from Tehran's Evin prison after a $500,000 bail is paid for each of them. The attorney said the hikers' families are attempting to get the money.
Let's not forget that these two have been imprisoned in Iran for over two years. They were seized with a third hiker, Sarah Shourd, back on July 31, 2009, while hiking in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Iranian authorities arrested them, after they apparently strayed across an unmarked border, claiming they were spies and had entered the country illegally.
Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to pat himself on the back -- he described his planned pardon as a "unilateral humanitarian gesture." However, he remained cagey as to their actual date of departure. When questioned whether the prisoners would definitely be released this week, he said, "I hope so. I hope I will do that."
Of course, this came after the part of the interview when he described the comfort level in Iranian prison to that of a nice hotel. Sure.
For my money there isn't a worse liar on the international stage than Ahmedinejad.
Off the top of my head, he's denied the Holocaust, while defending the "freedom of the press." He's actually mentioned some 30 opposition newspapers currently in circulation. And no gay people. Or drug abusers. According to this lunatic, there are 30 more opposition newspapers than gay people or drug abusers. I'd say that's unlikely.
And this is the banal stuff -- I'm not even touching on the "we love all nations" versus. "death to America/England/Israel/insert liberal democracy here" nonsense he's been spewing since he seized office in 2005. Ahmadinejad claimed that there was no crackdown in Iran against the opposition and that the people in his country enjoyed complete freedom. He's said their nuclear ambitions are peaceful, while threatening "war without limits." They hold enough enriched uranium to construct three nuclear weapons, yet have resisted four iterations of UN sanctions meant to temper their ambitions.
Let's hope for those two Americans' sake that the man has a shred of honesty in him. But moments like this do give pause to wonder why the Obama administration still holds out hope for a diplomatic solution to a problem-country led by the world's worst liar and his fanatical handlers.
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