But one of the former captives, pastor Saeed Abedini, spoke out on Thursday about his experience moments before he and his fellow Americans were finally freed, which tells a different story.
“I just remember the night that we’d been in a[n] airport, just take hours and hours there. And I asked one of the…police that was with us, that, why are you not letting us to go to the…plane? And he told me we are waiting for another plane, and if that plane takes off, then we’re going to let you go,” he said on Fox Business’ “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan.”
“[T]hey told us you’re going to be there for 20 minutes. But it took like hours and hours. We slept at the airport, and when I asked them why you don’t let us go, because the plane was there, pilot was there, everyone was ready that we leave the country, they said we are waiting for another plane, and until that plane doesn’t come, we never let you go,” he continued.
And while his captors didn’t talk about money—just the plane—Abedini answered in the affirmative as to whether they were “effectively waiting for the money to come in before they then let [him] take off.”
President Obama meanwhile insists that the payment was announced in January. “This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” he said at a news conference on Thursday. “We do not pay ransom for hostages.”