Ann Curry’s 45-minute sit-down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today included a question about how the country could have sentenced two American hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, to such a harsh sentence — 8 years — for straying into Iran in 2009. But she wasn’t expecting his answer, which made headlines about an hour before the “Today” show went on the air.
Ahmadinejad: They illegally crossed our borders, and they were arrested by the border guards, but we tried last year to free one of the three persons, and we are also trying to make arrangements for their freedom, for the freedom of the other two. I think these two persons will be freed in a couple of days.
Curry: In a couple of days?
Ahmadinejad: Yes. In a couple of days, they will be free.
“Good Morning America” also reported the news in the show open. ABC’s Jim Sciutto reported from Washington, DC: “ABC News confirming the president has said the hikers will be released in two days.” ABC spoke with their lawyer as well as Sarah Shourd, Bauer’s fiancee. who was released last year. On CBS, correspondent Mark Philips reported the story from London for the “Early Show.” Neither ABC nor CBS mentioned the news was made during an NBC interview.