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Go figure: Obama admin’s prisoner swap pardonees not super eager to return to Iran

By Doug Powers  •  January 20, 2016 10:00 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

As we talked about on Sunday, just one ingredient in the Obama administration’s swap deal to get back four American citizens held in Iran was to drop charges against seven Iranian citizens held prisoner by the U.S.

The four held in Iran who were released as part of the trade quickly (and presumably happily) made a beeline for the United States.

The seven prisoners Iran demanded the release of in return have reportedly decided to… hang out in the U.S. for a little bit:

The U.S. government had readied a plane to take the seven Iranians pardoned in a recent prisoner exchange out of the country, but none of them chose to return to Iran, a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations told CNN Wednesday.

The original plan was for the plane to take the Iranians, most of whom hold U.S. citizenship as well, to Geneva and then take the Americans released by Iran on to Germany, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private negotiations.

The Swiss plane that brought the Americans to Geneva was to take the Iranians back to Tehran, but when none of the pardoned Iranians chose to take the flight, there was no reason to send it, the official said.
In exchange, the seven Iranians — including six with American citizenship — were granted clemency for sanctions violations in the U.S.

Joel Androphy, a lawyer who represents one of those pardoned, Bahram Mechanich, told CNN’s New Day Sunday that “as far as I know, they are all staying in the U.S. for a while.”

What’s with the altruism from Tehran? How humanitarian of them to demand the release of people they had to know beforehand wouldn’t go back to that country:

The men allegedly had been involved in exporting products and services to Iran in violation of trade sanctions against the country. They were accused of exporting goods ranging from electronic components and satellite services to marine navigation and military equipment. Some of them had been convicted. Others were awaiting trial.

Do you think it occurred to the Obama administration’s SmartPowerâ„¢ braintrust to ask themselves why Iran would, as part of the deal, demand the release of prisoners they had to know would choose to remain in the U.S.? No question is too rhetorical these days. On top of it all, the U.S. State Department will probably be ballsy enough to now refer to them as “refugees.”

Oh, and on top of all this, Iran coincidentally won some sort of retroactive Powerball lottery:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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