Iranian Freed in Prisoner Trade Won’t Go Back to Iran

We may have negotiated the release of 4 of our countrymen by promising the Iranians seven sanctions violators in return, but that doesn’t mean Iran is getting those seven nationals back. 

Although all of the Iranians were given the green light to return to their country – flights were even booked for them out of Switzerland, where the US and Iran made the “prisoner swap” on neutral ground – but three of the Iranians being held by the US have chosen to stay here. The other four never made it to their flight in Geneva. 

None of the Iranians freed in the prisoner swap have returned home and could still be in the United States, it has been reported.

The seven former inmates, who were released as part of a deal with the Islamic republic, did not show up to get a flight to Geneva, Switzerland, where the exchange was set to take place on Sunday.

Three of the Iranians have decided to stay in the United States, ABC reported, with some moving in with their families. However it is not known where the other four are.

Three of the Americans who had been detained in Iran – Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini – left Tehran at around 7am the same day, but weren’t met by their counterparts in Switzerland. 

Three of them, it seems, are connected by the same string of crimes: a plot out of Dallas, Texas to sell parts and ammunition for surface-to-air missiles to Iranian authorities. It’s not clear whether those three were the ones who chose to stay in the US, but at least six of the seven detainees are dual citizens who can stay here without repercussions. The only one who did not have dual citizenship was here on a work visa, employed as an engineer at a Vermont tech company so that he could steal software. 

 

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