Freed American hostage: We waited all night in the airport

Saeed Abedini, one of the four American hostages freed from Iran on Tuesday, describes the night he was liberated.

American Hostage: Forced to Wait For 2nd Plane Before Iran Release

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Pastor Saeed Abedini, one of four American hostages released from Iran earlier this year, revealed in an interview with FOX Business Network’s Trish Regan that he and his fellow prisoners had to wait for hours at the airport until a second plane arrived on orders from police.

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“He told me we are waiting for another plane. And if that plane takes off then we are going to let you go,” said Abedini.

He noted that the plane and pilot were there, and everyone was ready to go, but they didn’t leave until 10 a.m. the next day. They eventually flew to the U.S. in the plane that had been sitting at the airport overnight.

The account comes amid controversy over a $400 million payment the Obama administration made to Iran when the American prisoners were released. Officials say the payment was strictly connected with a legal settlement in an unrelated case, and President Obama insisted Thursday it was not “ransom.”

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But Republican lawmakers say the money was clearly used to buy the prisoners’ freedom.

Abedini could not say whether the other plane contained money. When asked whether he believes the U.S. paid the Iranian government a ransom for his release, Abedini said he has his suspicions, but “they didn’t’ talk about money.”

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“We call them terrorists and I don’t believe they are going to use this money for building orphanages, which I was arrested for, but I prefer that the politicians answer this question.”

Abedini said he is more concerned about worsening human rights conditions in Iran.

“I’m very grateful about my release and freedom, but there are some people still left behind and Christians who are still in prison,” he said. “Two days ago some of my friends… have been executed because of their faith. Every Wednesday they execute 100 people.”

He also said, “First of all, I’m so thankful for my freedom. …There is nothing like a life of being free.”

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