DEVELOPING: Iranians Exchanged for Our 3 Americans Never Boarded Flight Back to Iran
The recent swap for the lives of three Americans being held in Iran has taken an awkward and concerning turn. Given the opportunity to go back to Iran, none of them chose to get on the plane. Why not?
Here are a few thoughts;
1. They’re not stupid.
2. They were offered a good deal to stay.
3. They plan to harm us here….. and …. #4
4. If they stayed, who’s tracking them????
By JUSTIN FISHEL and MIKE LEVINE for Good Morning America:
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.
So who were these Iranian men, and why didn’t they leave the U.S. when given the chance?
Six of the seven have American/Iran dual citizenship and all of them had been convicted or charged with crimes related to selling sensitive equipment to Iran in violation of strict trade embargoes.