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Monday, December 14, 2009

How the IAEA knew what to look for in Qom

I have to get you into the mood for this one. Let's go to the videotape.

London's Sunday Telegraph reported based on French sources that a senior Iranian nuclear scientist who defected while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June, was the source for much of the knowledge the West has about the Qom nuclear plant. The Iranian, Shahram Amiri, briefed IAEA inspectors at Frankfurt Airport just before they took off for Tehran in October.
[C]ontrary to Iranian claims, Mr Amiri actually defected after an elaborate international cloak-and-dagger co-ordinated by the CIA, according to a well-connected French intelligence analysis website.

"The agency made contact with the scientist last year when Amiri visited Frankfurt in connection with his research work," Intelligence Online reported. "A German businessman acted as go-between. A final contact was made in Vienna when Amiri travelled to Austria to assist the Iranian representative at the IAEA. Shortly afterwards, the scientist went on pilgrimage to Mecca and hasn't been seen since."

The vanishing act was reminiscent of Cold War days between the Soviet Union and the West when spies - often scientists and diplomats - were spirited away in plots just as outlandish as any John le Carré thriller.

Heads have rolled at Iran's nuclear counter-espionage agency since his loss, and the foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, raised his case in a private meeting with the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon.

The Islamic republic has now linked the fate of three American hikers detained in Iran since July with a list of Iranian citizens, including Mr Amiri, who Tehran alleges are being held by the US. It appears to be proposing some form of trade in talks with Swiss intermediaries.

Officially, the US says it has no information on Mr Amiri's whereabouts, but the scientist is now believed to be in Europe, protected by a Western intelligence agency, in a CIA-led operation. He will be debriefed intensively by experts - who will also want to ensure that he is not an Iranian plant.
Read the whole thing. It appears that we have yet another Shpy on our side.


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