The release of four Iranian Americans held by Tehran in a prisonner swap this month made headlines around the world.
One was the bureau chief of the Washington Post in Tehran, another a former marine, the third a pastor and the fourth… Well no one really knew who the fourth was.
Indeed, in contrast to the publicity surrounding the capture ofJason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini, no one had even reported on the detention of Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari.
However, IranWire says it has uncovered his identity after talking to his lawyer and a fellow prisoner who shared his cell.
Khosravi seems to have been former Iranian soldier who moved to California after supporting the revolution in military operations around the turn of the 1980s.
IranWire, run by independent Iranian journalists outside the country, reports that he set up in the US as a carpet designer and seller but also became an advisor to the FBI helping to identify stolen parts (they weren’t able to confirm this with the law enforcement agency).
Having returned to Iran in 2003 to see his mother, Khosravi decided to stay and became engaged to be married but apparently fell foul of the authorities after sending a drunken message to an FBI contact claiming to have information about another missing America, CIA consultant Robert Levinson. He later denied knowing the information and said he had just been trying to show off, Iranwire said.
Khosravi was charged with espionage and sending information to a foreign government, as well as drinking alcohol. He was convicted on the latter charge but awaiting trial on the former.
Khosravi did not travel to the US with the other released prisoners has since made the trip, according to IranWire, which says they had refrained from publication until he had left Iran.
The account does not fully explain why friends and relatives of Khosravi or Human Rights Groups had not tried to put pressure on the US authorities through the media like those supporting the release of the other American prisoners.
However it is conceivable that those close to him in America did not realise he was imprisoned while his lawyer told IranWire a judge had demanded a blackout on the case in Iran.