Obama's Freed Iranian Spies Chose To Stay In US
It turns out that so-called “prisoner swap” with Iran didn’t involve much of a swap. When given the chance, none of the Iranians freed from U.S. custody chose to return to Iran, according to U.S. officials familiar with the negotiations.
As the United States and Iran secretly negotiated the terms of a deal that culminated with a “prisoner swap” this weekend, both parties agreed they would fly their prisoners to Geneva, Switzerland, for the exchange – a neutral country that for years has worked as a diplomatic mediator between the two adversaries.
After an hours-long and nerve-wracking delay, a Swiss plane took off Sunday from a military base in Tehran just before 7 a.m. ET carrying three long-held American prisoners: journalist Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini.
That same day, a plane took off from somewhere on the East Coast of the United States, carrying the seven Iranian-Americans freed from U.S. custody who wanted to return to Iran (or so everyone believed). But not one of them boarded the plane, according to the U.S. officials familiar with the process. The plane left anyway because it was designated to bring the freed Americans on to their second destination in Landstuhl, Germany.