Three US hikers detained in Iran met their mothers on Thursday in Tehran, the Iranian news network Press TV reported.
The six were reportedly reunited at a hotel in northern Tehran, their first meeting in 11 months.
The three mothers had arrived in Tehran on Wednesday and were received by the Swiss ambassador. The Swiss embassy there represents the interests of the US with which Iran has had no diplomatic ties for three decades.
The mothers of Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, obtained their visas last week from Iran’s United Nations mission in New York.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the decision to grant the three the visas had solely humanitarian — and not political — reasons.
Observers said they believe that after allowing the mothers to come to Tehran, Iran would prepare the ground for the release of the three in the near future.
The US hikers were detained in July by Iran when they strayed across the border from Iraq’s Kurdish region. They have been held in Tehran’s Evin prison.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had on several occasions said that the hikers entered Iran without legal permission, committing a border violation and in every country there were harsh punishments for this.
The president also noted that Iran would be ready to release the three hikers in exchange for Iranian prisoners in the United States.