Iran to Charge 3 U.S. Hikers with Espionage

It’s official, the three U.S. citizen hikers who were apprehended just inside the Iranian border in late July, are being accused of espionage and may face trial in Iran.

3 U.S. hikersDoes anybody actually think backpackers Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were on a mission to gather intelligence for the CIA in Iran?

The answer is a resounding no. Commentators listening to what Ahmadinejad says on the topic are convinced that he, too, knows the trio are guilty only of crossing the border without permission to do so. Espionage is a slightly more serious offense – punishable by death under Islamic sharia law.

So what’s Iran got up its sleeves?

Bargaining chips in nuclear talks, in the release of Iranian diplomats apparently holed up in Iraq. This also means that Iran and/Ahmadinejad get to be the good guys once it’s all over. Think Saberi. An American ‘breaks the law’ in Iran. Iran arrests and prosecutes to the full extent of the law. Public U.S. outcry and diplomatic negotiations lead to reduced sentence and release. Then the U.S. has to thank Iran and Ahmadinejad for being lenient, despite trumped-up charges.

In the meantime, the families of the hikers are rallying for support, participating in vigils and raising awareness on Facebook. Perhaps they are able to take comfort in the recent ‘spy’ releases from Iran and North Korea. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to ask Iran to show compassion and release the hikers so that they may return home to their families.

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