On August 19, Iranian courts sentenced Americans Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal to eight years in jail, ending speculation that they might win freedom. Bauer and Fattal, along with Bauer's fiancee Sarah Shourd, were arrested July 31, 2009, as they were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran alleged they were spying.
Iran released Shourd for medical reasons in 2010 after she had spent 410 days in prison.
"We are deeply disappointed that Iranian judicial authorities have sentenced Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal to eight years in prison," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on August 21. "We continue to call and work for their immediate release -- it is time for them to return home and be reunited with their families.
"I join President Obama and the people of the United States in expressing our unflagging support for Shane, Joshua, Sarah and their families during this difficult time," she said.
The continuing story of the American hikers is yet another incident in many decades of bad blood between the U.S. and Iran. The two countries have not had normal diplomatic relations since 1980.