News / Middle East

Iran: Missing Scientist Takes Refuge in Pakistan Embassy in US

Image grab taken from Iran's state-run English-language Press TV shows Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri whom Islamic republic says was kidnapped by US agents in video clip 8 June 2010.
Image grab taken from Iran's state-run English-language Press TV shows Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri whom Islamic republic says was kidnapped by US agents in video clip 8 June 2010.

Iran's state media say an Iranian nuclear scientist has taken refuge in Pakistan's embassy in Washington and is seeking an immediate return to his homeland.

The latest twist in scientist Shahram Amiri's case follows conflicting accounts, reportedly by the scientist himself, that he had been kidnapped and tortured by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency or that he was in the United States for academic studies.

Iran says Amiri was captured and handed over to U.S. intelligence agents while he was visiting Saudi Arabia.  Washington denies the charge.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday that Amiri has been in the United States "on his own free will" and was free to go. Crowley said Amiri traveled to the Iranian interests section of the Pakistani embassy on his own and was in the process of making travel arrangements to return to Iran.

Amiri had been working for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, which the United States and other countries suspect is trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Tehran denies.

A series of video messages have only added confusion to the case.  The latest, aired on Iranian television last month, showed a man identified as Amiri saying he had escaped from American intelligence forces, was in hiding and feared for his life.

The message followed two others, also purportedly by Amiri, earlier in the month.  

In the first, a man says he had been kidnapped during a joint Saudi-American operation last year.   

The next day, another video surfaced, with the speaker saying he was studying medical-related physics in the United States and had no role in nuclear weapons research.

An American news network reported that Amiri had made the second video because he had defected to the United States to help it in its case against Iran and its nuclear program.  ABC television says the Iranian government threatened the scientist's relatives, if he failed to return.

Paul Ingram is the executive director of the British American Information Security Council in London.  He says those following the case will draw their own conclusions based on their existing allegiances.  

"Each story has within it its own sense of consistency," Ingram said. "However, it has to be said, if it is true that he has turned up at the Pakistani embassy within Washington and is now wanting to be repatriated to Iran, that on balance it would seem, the balance of probabilities and that is how far I would be able to go, the balance of probabilities seem to have shifted towards Iran's side of the story."

Because Iran and the United States have no diplomatic ties, Pakistan's embassy in Washington hosts an Iranian interests section.  A Pakistani Foreign Ministry official said Iranian officials at the interest section in Washington informed him they are working to repatriate Amiri.

Ingram adds that if this turns out to be a case of extraordinary rendition - the U.S. policy of capturing wanted people overseas - it would seem to be the first suggestion that the policy covered such people as scientists.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More