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Iran allows jailed U.S. hikers to phone home

MINNEAPOLIS - Two American hikers held captive in Iran have been allowed to phone home for only the third time since their arrest nearly two years ago.

The hikers' families said in a news release that 28-year-olds Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal told their families they had staged a 17-day hunger strike after they were stopped from receiving letters.

Bauer's mother, Cindy Hickey of Pine City, Minn., and Fattal's mother, Laura Fattal of suburban Philadelphia, began what they called a "rolling" hunger strike last Thursday out of concern their sons were also fasting. Hickey says her son's phone call was about four minutes and that he sounded "OK."

Fattal, Bauer and Bauer's fiancee, Sarah Shourd, were arrested along the Iraq-Iran border in July 2009 and held on espionage charges, which they deny. Shourd was allowed to return to the U.S. last year on bail.

Iranian authorities delayed the trial of Bauer and Fattal, both 28, without explanation about two weeks ago.

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