An incredible escape from Iran....
A human interest story from the WikiLeaks material...
A 75-year-old Los Angeles dentist, held against his will in Iran for seven months, made an extraordinary escape on horseback, the secret WikiLeaks cables revealed.
Hossein Ghanbarzadeh Vahedi, an American of Iranian descent whose sons rep popular Persian pop singers, had his passport confiscated in May 2008 when he arrived at the Tehran airport to visit the graves of his parents.
After seven months of daily appeals to the revolutionary courts, Vahedi decided to escape.
He paid two drug smugglers $7,500 to be his guides, mounted a horse and made the harrowing three-day journey that included a 14-hour overnight ride across the freezing mountains of northwestern Iran into Turkey.
Vahedi, who is on heart medications, trained for weeks by climbing in the hills north of Tehran.
The old man planned everything well except his wardrobe. At points during the zero-degree ride, "the escorts had to physically hug him to keep him warm," the cable says.
Vahedi showed up at the U.S. Consulate in Ankara on Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, asking for help getting home.
"Although suffering some aches and pains, he appeared to be in good health," diplomatic staff wrote with some wonder in a February 2009 cable.
"Although visibly shaken, Vahedi said he had no major physical problems, but he did break down a few times when explaining his ordeal."
The Turks initially tried to return Vahedi to Iran, but changed their minds under pressure from the U.S. Embassy.
He flew home four days later.