In case you just woke up, yesterday Wikileaks leaked over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables dating back to the 1960s. Everyone’s going crazy. Julian Assange has become He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and—right now—there’s not much good to be said of the whole thing. According to the Guardian, one official called it “an epic blow” to U.S. diplomacy.
But if there’s one positive we can take out of this—other than some great gossip on Muammar Gaddafi and Nicolas Sarkozy—it’s that the U.S. is home to the coolest 75-year-old dude alive.
Meet Hossein Ghanbarzadeh Vahedi.
Vahedi, an Iranian American who left Iran in 1979, flew into Tehran in May 2008 to visit his parents. As he was prepared to fly home, his passport was confiscated at the Tehran airport. According to the report, Iran wanted $150,000 for Vahedi’s release. They also wanted Vahedi’s sons, who live in Los Angeles, to stop promoting Persian pop singers who were considered “anti-regime.”
Refusing to remain in Iran, Vahedi took the next logical step:
In a daring escape, he mounted a horse, hired two guides, and began a perilous 14-hour overnight climb across the freezing mountains of north-western Iran into eastern Turkey. After that he took a bus.
He appeared at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on January 9, 2009. Despite a 14-hour trek across snow-covered mountains in freezing temperatures—not to mention being 75 freaking years old—Vahedi only had “a few aches and pains.”
Cold-hearted Turkish officials didn’t seem to care for Vahedi’s amazing tale, declaring him an illegal immigrant and ordering that he be deported back to Iran. Thankfully, U.S. officials “had a quiet word with the Turkish foreign ministry,” and Vahedi finally flew home.