U.S., Saudis kidnapped a nuclear scientist, Iran's foreign minister charges
Los Angeles Times / Borzou Daragahi
08-Dec-2009 (one comment)

Reporting from Beirut - Iran's top diplomat accused the United States and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of having kidnapped one of its nuclear scientists.

Foreign Affairs Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters that Shahram Amiri, who worked for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, had disappeared during a summer religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. He said Tehran had evidence the U.S. was involved in the alleged abduction.

"The U.S. should give back our compatriots based on the call of their family and people," Mottaki told reporters during an appearance with his United Arab Emirates counterpart, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. The Foreign Ministry's spokesman acknowledged earlier in the day that Amiri was a nuclear scientist.

Iran also recently accused the U.S. and Israel of abducting a top Ministry of Defense official, Ali Reza Asghari, who disappeared in 2006 while on a trip to Syria. Several Iranians and security officials abroad say that he defected to the West.

One former Western intelligence official said it was also likely that Amiri defected because he had visited Saudi Arabia during the minor Hajj holiday when any Iranian official would come under intense surveillance.

"A Shiite Iranian that comes to Mecca in Saudi beyond the formal period of Hajj, will alert services Saudis, even at the visa application stage," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This suggests to me that the... >>>

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