China and Russia could gain significant leverage over Iran as mounting EU sanctions cause it to begin looking for business elsewhere.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had pressed for a lighter sentence for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. The eight-year prison terms they received are seen as a slight by the judiciary.
In court Saturday more than 100 defendants were charged with conspiring with foreign powers to foment a revolution using terrorism, subversion, and a media campaign to delegitimize election results.
In a striking move Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei personally called for a detention center to be closed, citing mistreatment, while President Ahmadinejad sanctions repressive tactics.