The Washington Times - May 24, 2010, 02:54PM

The mothers of American hikers held in Iran — Nora Shourd, Laura Fattal and Cindy Hickey — arrived on Wednesday at Tehran’s airport on one-week visas and embraced their children.

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According to the State Department, “Consular officials have remained in very close contact with the mothers before, during and after their travel,” and the Swiss have provided consular services to the hikers on three occasions.

State Department spokesman Darby Holladay confirmed that no consular representative was present in New York when the mothers gave a press conference about their trip and reunion with their children.

The Iranian government has accused the three hikers of espionage after Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, were captured in July after entering Iran from Iraq. The latest reports say the three appear to be in good health, and Mr. Bauer and Ms. Shourd are now engaged to be married.

Tehran has called on Washington to discuss a possible prisoner swap, but Mr. Holladay told me there are “no negotiations taking place in the United States and Iran regarding a prisoner swap.” 

For almost a year, the American hikers have remained in a Tehran prison without charge, but the State Department has not classified the three as hostages.

Although they have not been formally charged, we consider the three hikers detainees,” Mr. Holladay said.

It should be noted that the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran lasted for 444 days. One must wonder when the administration will begin to view the three imprisoned Americans as hostages of the Iranian regime.