September 29th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

Chavez: I asked Ahmadinejad for hikers' release, at actor's behest

[Updated at 3:53 p.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday he called and sent a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking for the release of detained American hikers at the behest of actor Sean Penn.

Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were released from an Iranian prison last week, after 781 days in captivity.

Chavez said he considers Penn a friend, and after the two spoke about the hikers, he agreed to add his voice directly with the Iranian president.

"If this call and message helped a little, I am glad. Even if it didn't," he said.

Fattal, Bauer and Bauer's now-fiancee, Sarah Shourd, were arrested in July 2009, with Iran saying they strayed across the unmarked border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran. Shourd was released in 2010.

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Filed under: Iran • Venezuela
soundoff (362 Responses)
  1. bubba the troll you all love to hate

    Hmmmmm... why is it when someone of common sense says something that some left wing wacko doesnt agree with, he has to be a right wing troll... I think the trolls are the leftist a wholes who get on these moronic tabloids and stick up for the guy with the big ears....yeah the one in the wh...... another wacko......

    September 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. IceT

    Fact is, they were released. Who cares who said what or why or even if they're lying ... they're home safe & I'm sure if Chavez did convince Iran to release them they'd be happy to thank him (& Penn).

    September 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hahahahah

    Sean Penn is friends with Hugo Chavez? What a shock. Too bad he couldn't have died instead of his brother

    September 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wicket

    If it's true, it's good that he tried to help get them out of Iran. I imagine those young men don't mind; they're just glad to be out of there.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe here in Colorado

    I like Chavez. He stands up for his people and stands against the oppressive American government, which by the way, has NO BUSINESS in foreign affairs. We Americans have enough problems in our own back yard that we should be dealing with. I hate that our government is a war machine that puts innocent blood on the hands of the American people.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Joe –

      It seems as though you may be a bit misinformed. Chavez is a socialist dictator. Under his regime, successful, educated Venezuelans are leaving in droves. The country's infrastructure is collapsing and inflation is about 40% a year.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • gzaes

      I don't see how American can say they "like" someone they don't even know! Have you lived in Venezuela at least for a whole year? do you know what people have to put up with every day? and you say he stands up for his people!? this is just a lie! he is destroying our country every day.. we have the largest oil reserve in the world, yet our people are poor and homeless... right now I live here in GA, USA! I moved with my American wife and believe me if you think your country is in crisis you should go visit Venezuela and then you will be thankful you live in America.. dont get me wrong I love my country, but what the government has done to it is just horrible

      September 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim970

    Sean Penn is a buddy of Hugo Chavez? Remind me to avoid all of his movies.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Maybe Sean is playing a "Role"....he MUST be a SPY!!!

      September 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheDarkLastOneofMPLS

    In response to those who would be gullible enough to beleive Chavez is ridiculous! We are talking about the same Chavez who in front of a Russian assembly blamed America for the earth quake in Haiti. Stating that it was due to an invention that we Americans developed to destroy his country, and not the planet.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheDarkLastOneofMPLS

      SP(believe) oops.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. grofys

    obama called iran at the behest of mickey mouse, and medvedev at the behest of cheburashka. it's all about the same, isn't it?

    September 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jon

    Iran was paid 1 million dollars for "bail"...RANSOM is what I call it. Arab Spring in Iran should only come ASAP!

    September 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. viny

    Heres hoping that Sean Penn goes hiking near the Iranian border. I bet thats one guy theyd be happy to give us back. they can keep him!

    September 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Heiney

      I agree with that. Please make this fool go away.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • LittleLordHoseaComethUntoU2Say

      Little people that have little minds and NOTHING interesting to say shouldn't. Don't have children.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • WillH85

      Yeah what a horrible guy trying to get those hikers free. People trying to help other people are what's wrong with this world.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. DaleB

    You don't like what Sean Penn stands for, don't go to his movies. Make a point of not purchasing products advertised on TV shows or movies involving him. Stand up to the people that make him a celebrity and thus allow him a platform from which to denigrate our country. Smack them in the wallet.

    He falls in the same category with Hanoi Jane and should be treated as such. And you might want to throw Martin Scorsese, another buddy of Hugo's into the same category.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      So, arrest anyone who doesnt believe what you do, hum I think we just got over that from 2000-2008, it was g dubbs, the awsome combo of both the dumbest man to sit in office, and the most evil. Im sad to think you represent even a small fraction of this nation.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Yep, ole Hanoi Jane was protesting the Viet Nam war and saying what a mistake that was. Silly girl, right Vinny and Dale?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • averagejoe67

      Mickey1313-Did DaleB say anything about 'arresting'. I think he just said if you don't like him stop supporting him by watching his movies. A pretty reasonable thing to say or do. And I won't even comment on bringing Bush's name into it???

      September 30, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • LittleLordHoseaComethUntoU2Say

      Looks like Penn has pizzed on the "common" american rodeo clown. Education is at an all time low and here is proof of stupidity on these hate rants against a fine American, that does something instead of "just"complaining about others. If your mad at Penn for doing something that YOU couldn't ever, then your just foolish.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremiah

      Not really shocked by the ignorance, arrogance, and outright libel on the part of the so called "tolerant" liberal progressives that worship people like Penn and in the same breath put down GW for the same exact stuff that Obama is doing right now as we type on these message boards. Your savior changed nothing in Washington except the name on the door. It's business as usual in D.C. and the two party system saw to that. The dems played all you for sheep and you did not disappoint.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinkLessDoMore

      Your off the mark completely Jeremiah, as a free-thinker (not affiliated to political parties) I don't even dislike GW, Cheny or Obama because like ALL humans they think they are doing the right thing.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • indepvot

      Haven't gone to any S. Penn's movies (garbage) for the same point you just made. He's downright ugly and unappealing besides.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hugo

    Obama should have been able to do this, but we have Sean Penn now. I have always supported Obama, but after his stupid comment about Cuba, I don'+ know anymore.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      you do know, that no president in moderen history writes his own speeches? just checking.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • averagejoe67

      Mickey again–So because a president doesn't write a speech he isn't responible for what it says? Give me a break or apply it to Bush also, I know you won't do that will you. After all, he didn't WRITE the speeches about WMD's did he?

      September 30, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Pimpson

    Penn is a commie. He's buddies with all these commies.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • dudley041518

      He's just anti-America. Self loathing, maybe.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • me again

      and you sir are an anachronism. Commies???? Check under your bed tonight!

      September 30, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. Doug

    Once again Hugo Chavez demonstrates that he is a better man than any of the people who would denigrate him. Funny how Americans dump on foreign leaders but the closest thing the US has to celebrated heroes are movie stars. You don't even take care of the men who were first on the scene to rescue and clean up on Sept 11th 2001. Very very sad.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Venezuela is a country of poverty and has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Just sayin...

      September 30, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremiah

      Your so called "better person" has actually done all the stuff you people worry about happening here in the US. He did it with force. He killed people, and lots of them. Why? Because they disagreed with Hugo. They protested him and he had them arrested. They voiced their opinions via media outlets and Hugo seized control of all media outlets in the country ans severely limited access to foreign media outlets. How does one alleged phone call erase all that? Or do you purposely ignore FACTS?

      September 30, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • dudley041518

      Hugo is ot our friend. He mainly pi$$ed because the new Can/Tex pipeline will reduce his exports to the US by 100%. Byb-bye CITGO!!!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ThinkLessDoMore

      Fact? ...Look up the root word for fact. Man makes up his environment and "Creates" a series of facts to support his mindset and satisfy his judgement making process. What would you ever do without your Facts!! and you ask if people purposely ignore YOUR facts. The answer is yes, everyday. Try going without your facts its refreshing its called CHANGE.

      September 30, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. azrael

    we all know that Oman is to thank for the release of the idiots..............

    September 30, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
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