Daily Digest: Bauer talks, Gas prices falling

Robert Downs

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal blast Iran in statement

The two American hikers recently released from an Iranian prison spoke candidly yesterday about their disdain for the Iranian government. Make no mistakes — this was no two-year adventure for the two.

Minnesota-native Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were released last week from an Iranian prison where they were held for more than two years. Sarah Shourd was released on bail last year.

Bauer and Fattal discussed hostilities between the two countries and made it clear that they opposed the position the United States government takes towards Iran. That said, they layed into the Iranian government. Here’s a statement from Bauer:

“I would like to be very clear: This was never about crossing the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq. We were held because of our nationality,”  “The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran. The irony is that Sarah, Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility. We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It is that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us; that is because there is no evidence and because we were completely innocent. The two court sessions we attended were a total sham. They were made up of ridiculous lies that depicted us as being part of a conspiracy to undermine Iran.

Fattal described solitary confinement the worst experience of their lives, and characterized it as “a nightmare.”

“Many times, too many times, we heard the screams of other prisoners being beaten,” Fattal said, “and there was nothing we could do to help them.”

The two were classmates at the Unviersity of California, Berkely.

Gas prices are falling

Prices at the gas pump are falling nationwide, including in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota, according to the Associated Press.

The national average has fallen from its peak at $3.98 per gallon in early May to $3.51 this Sunday, and analysts say prices could sink to $3.25 per gallon by November. Prices have already dropped below the $3 mark in parts of Michigan, Missouri and Texas.

The average price per gallon Sunday was $3.55 in Minnesota — down $.14 from just a week ago, but about $.80 more than this time last year. The average in the Twin Cities is slightly better, at $3.52 per gallon.

Drivers can thank the ongoing decline in crude oil prices for thicker wallets, but economists told the Associated Press that the news isn’t much to cheer about.

“Yes, it produces some relief, your bill at the gas pump goes down, but it’s going down because there are worries that people won’t have jobs,” said James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego. “The news has not been good.”

And besides, the yearly average — $3.56 per gallon — is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history.