"After clearing customs, Vahedi was paged over the loudspeaker, told to report to an office and once there had his passport confiscated.
The next seven months were a virtual house arrest. Vahedi believes he was held because his grown-up Los Angles-based sons promote popular Persian pop singers.
Vahedi would have to pay government officials a $150,000 bribe and have his sons stop their work to get his passport back, he was led to believe. Even then there was no guarantee he would ever get out of Iran.
Weighing his options, Vahedi decided to escape. He paid two drug smugglers to take him on horseback over the mountains of western Iran and into Turkey.