Yup, that evil villainous democratically-elected “strongman”, “dictator”, and whatever other stupid epithet you care to fling at his chemo-bald head. He’s a hero yet again. He did this for a couple of complete strangers in the midst of his treatment for cancer. And he got the idea from a high-profile friend:
Sean Penn played a real-life role in the mediation that secured the release of two American hikers who were held captive in Iran for more than two years.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged his ally, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to release the hikers after the South American leader was lobbied by pals in U.S. “intellectual circles,” Reuters reported.
One of those Americans was Penn, who flew to Venezuela to meet with Chavez and push him to talk to Ahmadinejad.
“Penn was very committed to the case,” a source told Reuters. “He kept on it.”
A representative for the actor confirmed his involvement in the hush-hush diplomacy, but provided no details.
Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, both 29, were released Wednesday from a prison in Tehran, where they had been held since being arrested near the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009.
They insisted they got lost while hiking, but were convicted of espionage and originally sentenced to eight years in prison.
They were released on $1 million “bail” – in what the Iranian Foreign Ministry labeled a show of “Islamic mercy.”
I don’t suppose the right-wing media/blogwhore name-calling will abate anytime soon, but this ought to make it harder for them to do it without blushing and stammering.