Wonderful, stupendous, long-overdue news if true.

TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC News Tuesday that two Americans given eight-year prison sentences for spying and entering the country illegally will be released “in two days”.

Ahmadinejad made the remark about Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal in a one-on-one interview with Ann Curry that is due to be broadcast on NBC’s TODAY on Tuesday morning.

Corroboration from the Washington Post:

TEHRAN — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he intends to grant a “unilateral pardon” to two Americans who have been jailed on charges of espionage for two years and release them this week.

“I am helping to arrange for their release in a couple of days so they will be able to return home,” Ahmadinejad tolD The Washington Post in an hour-long interview at his office here. “This is of course going to be a unilateral humanitarian gesture.”

And independent confirmation from other Iranian sources via CBS:

Iranian officials in Tehran confirm to CBS News that it is Ahmadinejad’s intention to free the hikers in the coming 48 hours.

UPDATE from WaPo:

The Americans, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, were arrested along with another American while they were hiking along the Iran-Iraq border two years ago. In August, they were sentenced to eight years in prison. The other American, Sarah Shroud, was released in September 2010.

Asked if the release would definitely happen this week, Ahmadinejad said: “I hope so. I hope I will do that.” The president’s decisions are subject to review by clerical authorities in the Islamic republic.

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge