75-Year-Old American Fled Iran on Horseback

Compliments of WikiLeaks: Turkish cable tells adventure story
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 29, 2010 9:56 AM CST
A 75-year-old man escaped Iran on horseback.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – WikiLeaks’ release of diplomatic cables contains at least one tale of adventure: In a cable from Turkey, the Guardian finds a story of an American’s daunting horseback escape from Iran. Hossein Ghanbarzadeh Vahedi, 75, visited Iran to visit his parents' graves—but when he wanted to return home to the US, authorities took his passport. They wanted $150,000, and they wanted him to push his LA-based sons to stop promoting “anti-regime” Persian musicians.

Vahedi did no such thing: Instead, with two hired guides, he hopped on a horse and began a 14-hour trek over the mountains into Turkey. "At one point during the 14-hour ride, the escorts had to physically hug him to keep him warm," read the cable. At one point, he “fell off the horse, tumbling into the woods." Instead, he arrived in Turkey, where authorities tried to deport him to Iran. But after US embassy officials spoke to the Turkish government, Vahedi went home.

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