U.S. Hikers freed from Iranian prison; within minutes of Obama speech

Following two years in custody, Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been released and are en route to Oman.

According to France 24, the two men who were jailed on spying charges “have been released after $1 million in bail was paid.”

This comes the day before Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak before the United Nations in New York, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The news of the release also came “just minutes before President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly,” according to CBS.

Obama’s speech was on the topic of Israel – Palestine relations, a subject Iran and other nations have remained vocal on as well.

While there is no proof that this move was intentional, many analysts have made note of the timing.

“Obama addressed the UN in a period of change and turmoil in the Middle East and economic uncertainty in the U.S., Europe and the world. As Obama spoke, there were conflicting reports about whether two American hikers held by Iranians since 2009 would be released in conjunction with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s trip to the UN,” according to Bloomberg.

The two men, along with already freed female Sarah Shourd, were arrested while hiking along the Iran-Iraq border, and were initially sentenced to eight years in prison last month.

Shourd was released last year, and has since been advocating for the release of Bauer and Fattal.

How important was the media’s role in raising awareness of the situation?  Do you feel that the media may have taken the bait to overshadow Obama’s speech, which is on the very controversial Israeli-Palestinian relations? Should this have been reported in a different way?

Both topics were big news, but how would you have personally handled it?

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