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Freed American Hikers Say They 'Were Held Hostage'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The two U.S. hikers imprisoned in Iran for the past two years, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, said they were "held hostage" because they were American.

Fattal and Bauer spoke publicly Sunday about the details of their imprisonment for the first time since regaining their freedom last week.

At a New York City hotel, each man read prepared statements discussing what they endured in Iranian prison and thanking those who fought for their release.

"Many times, too many times, we heard the screams of other prisoners being beaten and there was nothing we could do to help them," Fattal said.  "How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience?"

Bauer said one irony in the case was that they opposed the U.S. policy toward Iran which they believe was the impetus for their arrest and detention.

Fattal and Bauer arrived in New York before noon and addressed the media just under five hours later.

The two had spoken earlier in Oman, which had played a key part in the negotiations of the hikers' release.

"We hope someday to return to this wonderful country but for now we are eager to go home at last," Fattal said.

Oman is the same place that their companion Sarah Shourd went when she was freed from Iran nearly a year ago to the day.

Shourd was in Oman to greet Fattal and give a long welcoming kiss to her fiancée, Bauer.

"We will never forget the excitement of seeing our loved ones waiting for us at the foot of the plane.  The joy of embracing them all after so long will stay with us forever," Bauer said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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