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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Iranian nuke scientist returning to Iran

An Iranian nuclear scientist who defected to the United States during a pilgrimage to Mecca is returning to Iran out of fear for his family's safety. This is from the first link.
A missing Iranian nuclear scientist dramatically turned up at the Iranian interests section of Pakistan's embassy in Washington, and was quoted as saying he was kidnapped by U.S. agents in a "disgraceful act."

But a U.S. official, who declined to be named, said Shahram Amiri, who vanished during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia more than a year ago, had been visiting the United States and had decided "to return to Iran of his own free will."

Tehran has repeatedly accused the CIA of abducting Amiri, who worked for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, but ABC news had reported he defected and was helping the agency. Washington denied he was spirited away for nuclear secrets.

"My kidnapping was a disgraceful act for America ... I was under enormous psychological pressure and supervision of armed agents in the past 14 months," Amiri, who is in his thirties, was quoted as saying in a phone interview with Iran's state TV.
Politico's Laura Rozen adds:
A Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman has confirmed that Amiri came to its Washington embassy at 6:30pm Monday night. The Pakistan embassy houses the Iran interests section in the United States, which does not have formal diplomatic ties with Iran.

Mustafa Rahmani, head of the Iranian interests section, "is making arrangements for [Amiri's] repatriation back to Iran,'" the Los Angeles Times reports.
Israel Radio reports at 8:30 am Wednesday that Amiri is on his way to Iran. At the first link above, Reuters adds:
Some Iranian media linked the fate of three U.S. citizens, arrested near the Iraqi border a year ago where they said they were hiking and held on suspicion of spying, to the cases of alleged Iranian detainees in the United States. Iranian authorities have ruled out any prisoner exchange.

"They should be released immediately and allowed to return to the United States," the U.S. official said of the three.
There has been media speculation that it was Amiri who disclosed the existence of the Qom reactor to the United States.

ABC News reported last month that Amiri may be in danger if he returns to Iran.
One Iranian defector warned that Amiri has some tough decisions ahead. Reza Kahlili, who still uses a pseudonym to protect his relatives whom he left behind in Iran, told ABC News that Amiri is likely making life or death decisions.

Defecting, Khalili said, "becomes very emotional, and at times you question your sanity and the decisions that you've made."

"If he went backā€¦he would be tortured." Khalili said. "And then he would certainly be executed."
Amiri may have decided to take that risk rather than have his family suffer that fate. Perhaps in the future, greater efforts should be made to bring along the families of defectors.


At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is he's very dumb.

That or he's been working for Iran all the time, giving the US false intel.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

I know it sounds stupid, but for his sake I hope Shy Guy is right. Otherwise it doesn't bear thinking about!


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