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Tony has been held by Stane since his escape from Afghani terrorists, marked dead in the eyes of the world while Stane is free to use his mind, inventions, and company as he sees fit. Tony feels there's nothing he can do and has resigned himself to death to save those he loves. That would be when JARVIS lets Captain America stumble into his old lab.
This is Tony's part of Ghost in the Wires, and probably will not make sense if you haven't read that one.
- Part 2 of Will of Iron, Heart of Glass