Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked emails.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2016
Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday accused the United States of being involved in the disappearance of an Iranian scientist with alleged links to Iran’s nuclear program.The charge comes less than a week after Iran reached tentative accords with the United States and other major powers on addressing questions about its nuclear ambitions, including letting international inspectors visit its newly disclosed uranium-enrichment site near Qom. The charge also comes as the United States has raised questions about Americans being held in Iran.The scientist, Shahram Amiri, vanished during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia four months ago; Iran previously called on Saudi Arabia to help locate him. He is a researcher at Malek Ashtar University, which is connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and was listed by the European Union last year as an entity linked to Iran’s nuclear activities or weapon delivery systems.
Iran also is concerned about Shahram Amiri, a nuclear physicist who disappeared in June during a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Some media reports have said Amiri was seeking asylum abroad, but the Iranian Foreign Ministry charged that Saudi authorities handed him over to the United States and that now “he is among 11 jailed Iranians in America.”
On Tuesday, ABC News reported that U.S. officials had confirmed the defection of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, who vanished last summer during a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The report said Amiri had defected to the CIA in an “intelligence coup” and had been resettled in the United States.
In recent weeks, U.S. officials have acknowledged that an Iranian nuclear scientist defected to the West in June. Shahram Amiri, 32, vanished while on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and has provided spy agencies with details about sensitive programs, including a long-hidden uranium-enrichment plant near the city of Qom, intelligence officials and Europe-based diplomats said.Amiri is described by some as the most significant Iranian defector since Brig. Gen. Ali Reza Asgari, a former deputy defense minister and Revolutionary Guard Corps commander who switched sides during a 2007 trip to Turkey.
The apparent defection last year of an Iranian nuclear scientist with a presumed trove of secrets was hailed by U.S. officials as an “intelligence coup.” Yet here was the same scientist appearing in a crude video this week saying he had been abducted and tortured.And then popping up in a second video, retracting the story.
An Iranian nuclear scientist who had disappeared in Saudi Arabia last summer stepped out of a cab in front of Iran’s diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday, asking for a ticket back to his homeland. Shahram Amiri told officials that he had been abducted by U.S. intelligence operatives and had spent much of the past year in Tucson being questioned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have been abducted by the CIA before departing for his homeland Wednesday was paid more than $5 million by the agency to provide intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program, U.S. officials said.Shahram Amiri is not obligated to return the money but might be unable to access it after breaking off what U.S. officials described as significant cooperation with the CIA and abruptly returning to Iran. Officials said he might have left out of concern that the Tehran government would harm his family.