The FDFA welcomes the Release of the two American Citizens

Bern, Press release, 21.09.2011

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) welcomes the release of the two American citizens Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal from Iranian imprisonment. They were able to leave Iran on September 21st 2011. Within the scope of its mandate as protecting power for the USA in Iran, the FDFA has been engaged over the past two years in seeking a solution to the case of the imprisoned US citizens. A third American citizen, Sarah Shourd, was released from prison on September 14 2010, after bail had been posted.

The Head of the FDFA, Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, expressed her relief at the release of the two Americans. From the very start, the Swiss Embassy was in close contact with the Iranian authorities and duly carried out its mandate to defend U.S. interests in Teheran. “The FDFA regularly intervened with the Iranian authorities via our local Swiss Embassy”, stated Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey. “Our thanks go out to all those who were involved, particularly to Oman and Iraq, whose mediation decisively contributed to the release of the two Americans.”

Within the framework of its protecting power mandate, the FDFA engaged in intensive efforts to help find a solution, repeatedly promoting the cause of the prisoners with the Iranian authorities, making it possible, for instance, to organize a meeting between the prisoners and their mothers in May 2010 in the company of the Swiss Ambassador in Teheran. In addition, Swiss Embassy staff members were able to visit the Americans in prison several times and regularly succeeded in allowing them to receive letters and packages from their families.

The protecting power mandate is a part of the Good Offices which Switzerland provides to the international community within the scope of its humanitarian tradition. Switzerland has represented U.S. interests in Iran ever since the two countries broke off diplomatic relations over 30 years ago. That also includes the consular protection of U.S. citizens in Iran, which is ensured by the Swiss Embassy in Teheran, namely by its Section for Foreign Interests. In that context, Switzerland enabled various U.S. citizens to leave the country in the past. Furthermore, with the agreement of the two countries, Switzerland, as protecting power, provides a confidential communications channel between the two States, thus supporting a dialogue between the two governments.

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs