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Sean Penn reportedly helped secure the release of two Americans freed by Iran this week, by flying to Venezuela to ask President Hugo Chavez to talk with Iran’s leader.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were freed last week after being arrested and charged with spying in July 2009 while trekking near the Iranian border.

Although highly critical of the US, Hugo Chavez provided a direct link to Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Sean Penn has been vocal in calling for an end to economic sanctions put on Venezuela.

“Penn was very committed to the case,” a source told Reuters. “He flew to Caracas several months ago to raise it with Chavez and he kept on it.”

Penn’s representatives have confirmed the actor’s involvement, but are keeping tight-lipped about the extent of his work in the matter.

Earlier this year, Muhammad Ali also appealed to authorities to free the men.

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