Abducted Iranian Nuclear Scientist Seeks Refuge in Pakistan Embassy in Washington
In a dramatic development in a long-running mystery, Shahram Amiri was said to be demanding to be allowed to return home.
Mr Amiri disappeared last year while on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Iran claimed he had been seized by the Saudi intelligence services working in collaboration with the CIA.
Washington said such claims were "ridiculous" but shed no light on what happened to him. The American television channel ABC reported it had been told by official sources that he had defected voluntarily and was providing information to the US authorities.
Intelligence websites said he had been "turned" while on trips to Frankfurt and Vienna, and had provided detailed information on the secret uranium enrichment plant the Iranians were discovered to be building near the holy city of Qom.
Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since the Islamic revolution in 1979, and national interests are looked after by the Pakistan embassy in Washington and the Swiss embassy in Tehran respectively.
Mehr, an Iranian news agency, reported on Tuesday morning that Mr Amiri, a nuclear researcher at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University who also worked for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, "went to Iran’s interest section and asked for a quick return to Tehran".
If the report is true, it will provoke an awkward and embarrassing diplomatic stand-off for the United States.
In the last two months, a series of videos have emerged which seem to be of Mr Amiri. In the first and third, shown on Iranian television, a man is seen talking into what appears to be a computer video phone, claiming he has escaped from his American captors and wants to come home.
"I could be re-arrested at any time by US agents," he said in the second, released two weeks ago. "I am not free and I’m not allowed to contact my family. If something happens and I do not return home alive, the US government will be responsible."
He also claimed to have been tortured.
There was speculation in the United States that the videos were attempts to prevent retaliation against his family by the Iranian authorities, who were said to be deeply concerned at the information he might have provided.
In the second video, recorded to professional standards, the same man talks straight to camera and says he is safe and is studying in the United States.
The Iranian authorities said at the end of June that they were presenting evidence to the Swiss embassy that Mr Amiri had been abducted, and demanding an investigation by the United States authorities.
Article from: Telegraph.co.uk
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Video from: YouTube.com