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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid