Sarah Shourd: I Want to Meet with Ahmadinejad

In this photo provided by Harpo Productions, Inc., talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, right, interviews Sarah Shourd, during taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010, at Harpo Studios in Chicago. AP Photo/Harpo Productions

An American woman held in Iran for more than 13 months and accused of espionage says she hopes to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while he is in New York this week to attend the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.

Sarah Shourd, who was detained with two other Americans while hiking near the border of Iraq and Iran in January 2009, said on a Thursday episode of the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that she wants the Iranian leader to know she has "no animosity towards him or towards any Iranian people."

"There's just no reason for animosity," Shourd said. "In a situation like this, I don't know who's making the decisions. I don't know why what happened to us happened ... there's no feeling of blame or anger. There's just a strong desire for it to be over so we can go on with our lives."

Shourd was released for humanitarian reasons. Her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal remain in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison.

Shourd said she never thought she would leave Iran without Bauer and Fattal, and still is "numb and a little bit in shock."

"I just need to keep up with my pleas to the Iranian government and religious leaders to show the same humanitarian gesture" and compassion to her friends, she said. "They did nothing wrong."

The three University of California at Berkeley graduates were detained after Iranian officials said they intentionally crossed the country's border from Iraq. Shourd said the three had been hiking in a popular tourist area - near a waterfall in Iraq's Kurdistan region - and had no idea the border was nearby.

Shourd said they went hiking in the area because northern Iraq was considered safe and had "wonderful museums and amazing foods" and they wanted to experience the Kurdish culture. She said they saw soldiers about three hours into their hike, but there was no indication they were near the Iran border.

Shourd said all three were held in solitary confinement for the first two months, and later were allowed to see each other for about an hour a day, though she still was held in solitary confinement the rest of the time.

At one point, she said, an Iranian investigator told her the investigation was over but that the situation had "become political and it really doesn't matter if you're innocent or not. This is bigger than you."

More on the Imprisoned American Hikers:

Oman: No Plans to Free 2 Americans Still in Iran
Freed U.S. Hiker Sarah Shourd Lays Low in Oman
Freed U.S. Hiker Reunited With Mother
Sarah Shourd Freed, Arrives in Oman
Mothers of Hikers Still in Prison: It's Our Turn
Katie Couric Interviews Josh Fattal's Brother
Mothers of Imprisoned Hikers Speak Out


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