NEW YORK—Despite a near 14-month imprisonment, Sarah Shourd emerged from her Iranian captors promoting a message of peace.

Shourd, 32, spent 410 days in a Tehran prison after she, her fianc©, Shane Bauer, and friend Josh Fattal were arrested for allegedly crossing into Iran from Iraq while on a hiking expedition. The Iranian government detained the trio as spies, which Shourd declares "a huge misunderstanding."

Bauer and Fattal remain in prison. At a press conference in New York Sunday, Shourd stated she is "one-third free."

All three of the prisoners were engaged in humanitarian work in the region prior to their arrest. Fattal had travelled to visit Bauer and Shourd, who were living together in Damascus, Syria. The trio went on a hiking expedition to a waterfall in Iraq’s Kurdistan region in July 2009.

In a statement of goodwill, Shourd thanked the Iranian government for the "humanitarian gesture" of her release. Shourd emphasized that she in no way blames the Iranian people for her imprisonment, calling them a "diverse and generous people" who also "want to live in peace."

"I believe that our tragedy is an opportunity for Americans and Iranians to realize that an improved relationship would be in the best interest for all people," Shourd said.

The mothers of Bauer and Fattal hope to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while he is in New York attending the U.N. General Assembly. Ahmadinejad has not indicated a forthcoming release for Bauer and Fattal, telling Christiane Amanpour "the cases have to be examined" and calling on the U.S. to release eight detained Iranians.

Following Shourd’s press statement, Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey, said, "A mother’s hope is never going to end, it’s always going to be strong."

"Now is the time to make the world a little safer for everyone through peace and dialogue," Shourd said.

About The Author

Ann Crews Melton is a Blast correspondent

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