An Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago was on his way home to Tehran yesterday from the United States, ending a mysterious intelligence drama.
Shahram Amiri said in an interview aired yesterday on Iranian state TV that he was abducted by American and Saudi agents on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last year, drugged, and whisked to the United States, where the CIA sought to force and bribe him into exposing Iranian secrets.
The US has denied claims of an abduction and has depicted Amiri as a willing defector who changed his mind, apparently because he missed — or feared for — his family, still in Iran. On Tuesday, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Amiri had been in the United States “of his own free will and he is free to go”.
That was the Obama administration's first acknowledgment Amiri was even in the country since he vanished in Saudi Arabia in June 2009, fuelling speculation he had defected to offer information on Iran's nuclear programme.
ABC News said that Amiri called home this year because he missed his wife and son in Iran and that his son had been threatened with harm.