How Secret Talks Led to Release of 3 Americans – 4 Remain Today


Prior to December 2013, if asked on rare occasions at press conferences about the status of America’s hostages held in Iran today, President Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry always insisted that all past and future talks would only deal with NUCLEAR issues, nothing else. Besides they would say, “The U.S. does not have direct diplomatic contact with Iran. So it’s impossible!”

(First published May 2014; Revised July 2015)

We now know that both of the statements above were untrue. The U.S. did negotiate with Iran about other prisoner swaps from at least 2010 through 8-9 months of 2013. And John Kerry himself, as a U.S. Senator in 2011 and in 2013 as the U.S. Secretary of State, conducted secret talks in a private beachfront enclave near Muscat, Oman – directly across the Gulf from Iran.

But ever since September 2013, the U.S. and Iran openly hold face-to-face talks for the first time in 35 years, albeit (allegedly) only about nuclear issues. However, right NOW is the best time for President Obama and Sec. Kerry to speak out clearly and decisively for the release of the four men! Iran should not be welcomed into the community of nations as many are saying based on a proposed deal that has required nothing, nothing at all, from Iran.

When this web-blog was started in 2013 to raise awareness among Americans that there were 3 Americans held basically as hostages in Iran. Then reporter Jason Rezaian was taken hostage July 2014. Jason, Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini are considered by Iran as dual American-Iranian citizens. Iran has treated them as Iranians only without regard for their U.S. citizenship.  I thought in 2013 and believe the same today that Iran’s releasing the Americans would elevate their their standing not only in Americans’ eyes, but the worlds.  It would be the first positive show of good faith by Iran since relations have been renewed. Even the U.S.-Cuba relations, where relations were broken off 50 years, are better than with Iran.

photo timeline  2007 to 2014 n 15

[click on image to enlarge]

The timeline chart above shows the sequence of past secret talks and prisoner exchanges. has detailed reports issued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice regarding 20-25 Iranian nationals (or Iran sympathizers) who were arrested and sent to Federal prisons over a 5-year period.

Iranian scientist Mojtaba Atarodi apr 27 arv Tehran

Former prisoner, Iranian scientist Mojtaba Atarodi, returns to Tehran a hero in April 2013. Not for a 4th American prisoner swaps, but rather to induce Iran into holding direct talks on the nuclear issue. The U.S. still holds at least 20 Iranian citizens who were convicted for spying or making illegal purchases of banned items. These are “bargaining chips.” The U.S. should use them now!

We should note that Iranian prisoners in the U.S. are kept relatively safe and secure, have heat, AC, TV, Korans, decent religiously appropriate food, medical care as needed, and, probably, Farsi language newspapers or internet access upon request for all we know. This is far different than the dangerous squalid conditions experienced by the Americans hostages held in Iran today! They face danger from both prison guards and other inmates. Wounds and sicknesses go untreated. There is no honest, open due process in the Iranian court system. Not even a translator if needed. No Red Cross/Crescent visits have been allowed. The UN General Assembly has gone on record criticizing their treatment.

Iran-Hikers AP PRESsTV

Three American hikers were released for four convicted Iranian criminals. The two men were released last in 2012 following John Kerry’s personal efforts as a U.S. Senator. The former hostages recently published a book about their experiences and harsh treatment.

In contrast, GITMO prisoners today have it 100 times better than any American held in Iran. Some in the U.S. and elsewhere suggest that America ‘tortures’ Islamic prisoners at Gitmo, even though it is open to media and other investigations and U.S. provided attorneys interact with their clients frequently. But no one complains about the harsh, abusive treatment that Iranian prisoners experience on a regular basis. Yes, even the 3 hikers who may or may not have strayed over Iran’s remote unmarked border were put in solitary confinement and physically abused!

President Obama: We know that the U.S. is holding 20+ Iranians. Iran is holding 4 of ours – perhaps more.  Use the 20+ to #MakeTheTradesNOW!  



The Obama Administration’s simple acknowledgements of the plight of 4 American hostages’ in Iran is not enough! It will not bring them home. They have been wrongly held now in unimaginably dire conditions. GITMO prisoners as I say often have it far better!  This issue will not be resolved unless the President of the United States and his Secretary of State John Kerry make some hard-nosed forceful demands. That’s what the ME region respects…not “Shake my hand, please?” Without a new approach, these 4 Americans will continue to languish in dangerous Iranian prisons.

4 AMERICANS HELD IN IRAN SKETCHWe are pleased by the increased attention the 4 American hostages have been receiving on social media, TV, radio and print news interviews with the 4 families and elected officials in Washington, DC.  This ‘media surge’ must be sustained until the Obama Administration acts to obtain the releases of all 4 men and they are home with their families.

Please continue to support these men – stay informed – pray as you are led – get involved! Each man has a unique ‘story’ that is posted elsewhere on this website. There are many interesting facts about the men and links to their families’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. The four are at risk of further declining health and cannot, should not, be held against their will another month, much less another year in Iran! adds its voice to encourage Americans to call, write, text, email, tweet or visit their Congressman and Senators to: Demand that the Obama Administration take more urgent steps immediately to ‘Free All 4 Americans’ who are held hostages and pawns in Iran today!

If you don’t  know your Congressional representatives’ names and contact info:  an easy-to-use ‘interactive map’ is on the website. Or follow this link for How to Get Involved with ideas you can use:

Thanks for your concern regarding the 4 Americans held hostage in Iran and their families. News about U.S. and Iranian relations and other related middle-east developments are also posted on this website on a regular basis.


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Email corrections/comments to: Daniel @ FreeAllThree . com  (Website URL is