The mothers of three American hikers held in Iran for almost a year have started their journey to visit them in prison and say they're thrilled to be on the verge of being reunited.
Cindy Hickey, Nora Shourd and Laura Fattal arrived in New York Sunday after receiving visas last week. They plan to leave Tuesday for Tehran, where they will appeal to Iranian leaders to release their children.
Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were arrested along the Iraqi border July 31 and accused by Iran of spying. Relatives say the three were on vacation in the northern Iraq and if they crossed the border it was by accident.
All three are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley.
The mothers are from Oakland, Calif., rural Pine City, Minn., and suburban Philadelphia. They were granted visas last week. They arrived in New York on Sunday and plan to leave for Iran within days.
Swiss diplomats who visited the hikers in April say Shourd had a serious gynecological condition and was depressed and Bauer had a stomach ailment.