I just got the news that the two American hikers imprisoned in Iran for two years have been released.

It’s been an article of faith in some quarters that the hikers had it coming — that they had no earthly reason for hiking near the Iranian border and, by implication, got what they deserved.

This is, for want of a better word, bullshit. Iran held them hostage because Iran likes to do that to Americans. The espionage charges were crap and everybody knew it.

Accounts of the hikers’ arrest go like this: they were hiking a trail when an Iranian soldier waved them across the Iranian border. They complied because you never know what happens when somebody with a rifle is waving at you. Best to do as directed.

Once they were across the border, they were arrested for illegally entering Iran — which never would have happened if an armed Iranian hadn’t given them, essentially, no sane alternative.

And then they became pawns in some deranged Iranian power game.

Iran was in the wrong here, morally, ethically, politically. Saying the hikers should never have been there is the same as saying a woman shouldn’t wear a short skirt if she expects to avoid being raped.

Iran has behaved criminally. Most likely it took the regime two years to find a way to extricate themselves from the mess this case created. The hikers should’ve been home in two days.

I won’t deny the hikers showed questionable judgment. But that does not absolve Iran for exploiting it.

All the people raving about how stupid it was to hike near the Iranian border are basically saying Iranians are no better than grizzly bears: stay away if you don’t want to get eaten.

This, too, is BS. The citizens of Iran are people who know right from wrong. Persian civilization has thrived for thousands of years. They had a choice to make — letting the hikers go because it was the right thing to do, or creating a crisis to serve somebody’s political ends.

Guess I’ll never understand this idiotic urge to let criminals off the hook.