Shane Bauer (left) and Joshua Fattal
09/13/2011 at 08:00 AM EDT
Two Americans who have been jailed in Iran
since 2009 will be released this week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC's Ann Curry
in an interview that aired Tuesday.
Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, both 29, who were arrested while hiking in July 2009 along the Iran-Iraq border and charged with espionage, will be set free "in a couple of days," Ahmadinejad said, calling their release "a humanitarian gesture." The pair were sentenced to eight years in prison last month.
In return, Ahmadinejad called for the release of Iranians who are being held in American prisons.
An attorney for Bauer and Fattal said they would be released in exchange for bail payment of $500,000 each, according to reports.
Bauer's fiancée, Sarah Shourd
, who was also arrested with Bauer and Fattal, was released in September 2010 and returned to the United States.
The trio have said they mistakenly wandered over the border after being waved over by a soldier.