Two American hikers who have been held in Iranian prison for more than two years were each released on $500,000 bail ($1 million total) Wednesday, according to reports.
The release ends a standoff between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his rivals in the country’s judicial system. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested after crossing an unmarked Iranian border two years ago. They were sentenced last month to eight years imprisonment in the country.
Ahmadinejad announced plans to release Bauer and Fattal last week, just ahead of his appearance before the U.N. General Assembly in New York. One judge had signed the paperwork Saturday, but Ahmadinejad left for that meeting in New York on Monday with the two Americans still behind bars, according to ABC NEWS.
The release followed a power struggle in Iran since Ahmadinejad’s announcement of a fast release. Iran’s judiciary, which is directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reminded the public that only the courts have the power to control the release’s timing.
Bauer and Fattal were released to Swiss and Oman officials, who also handled arranging the payments of the bail because of the United States’ economic sanctions on Iran.