Well, it looks like all that talk of Ramadan and forgiveness may have been a load of false hope, and the Iranian judiciary remains as kooky and unforgiving as ever. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, detained now for two years in an Iranian prison for mistakenly hiking over the Iran-Iraq border in a mountainous region they were vacationing in in 2009, have been convicted and sentenced to eight years apiece for "illegal entry into Iranian territory" and "cooperating with American intelligence service." It seems obvious to us that the Iranians couldn't possibly have a shred of evidence that these two were working for American intelligence services, but that obviously doesn't matter. There remains a small glimmer of hope that this is just more political theater, but it is small.

There's been no comment yet from Hillary or any other American officials. Reuters makes a connection between the conviction and Russia's stepped up efforts to achieve a diplomatic resolution to the tension between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. They also note that both Muhammad Ali and Yusuf Islam (nee Cat Stevens) have appealed to Iran for the Americans' release.

This is also a sad day for Sarah Shourd, the fiance of Shane Bauer who was also detained with the two men. Bauer proposed to Shourd using a ring made of string while they sat in jail together in May 2010. Shourd was released last fall for medical reasons -- a lucky stroke, given how this has played out for the boys.

Because there are still a couple of weeks left of Ramadan, there's still a small sliver of hope that having made their gesture of sternness, the Iranians may still decide to grant clemency to the boys at the conclusion of the holy month. The timing of the trial -- six months after the boys plead not guilty to their charges -- may have been calculated just for this asinine public show of leniency.