TEHRAN, Iran – The release of two American hikers jailed in Iran was delayed Sunday because one of the judges whose signature is required on the paperwork is on vacation, the attorney for the two men said.

Masoud Shafiei said when he tried to get the two signatures required for the $1 million bail deal for Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, he was told one of the judges needed to sign off on the agreement was on vacation, and to return at a later date.

“They told me to return to the court with my request in some days,” Shafiei said. “They didn’t say the release was canceled, just that the other judge was on vacation and would only be able to sign the papers from Tuesday.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last week that he intended to release the men, both 29, who have been jailed for two years on charges of espionage and grant them a “unilateral pardon.”

A day later, however, Iran’s powerful judiciary, which is independent from other powers in the country, denied Ahmadinejad’s statement.

Meantime, a delegation of American priests and Islamic activists that had arrived in Tehran from the United States on Tuesday, planned to return home Sunday, after having been invited by Ahmadinejad to come to Iran to expedite the release of Bauer and Fattal.