US religious envoys say hikers' release 'imminent'

By MATTHEW BARAKAT | September 19, 2011 | 6:05 PM EDT

FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 file photo, US hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal, attend their trail in Iran. The defense lawyer for two Americans jailed in Iran moved ahead with bail arrangements on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 as international efforts intensified to seal a freedom-for-bail deal for the two men, convicted of spying. (AP Photo/Press TV, File)

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) — A delegation of U.S. Christian and Muslim leaders has returned from Iran saying the release of two Americans is imminent.

The Americans have been jailed for more than two years as accused spies. The delegation arrived Monday at Dulles Airport following a meeting Saturday with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The group had hoped to bring home Americans Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who say they were hiking in northern Iraq's Kurdish region and accidentally strayed into Iran.

Delegation members believe the two will be released in a matter of days. They say the Iranians are hopeful that the U.S. will reciprocate and review the cases of Iranians jailed in the U.S.