WASHINGTON, Jul 15, 2010 (IPS) - U.S. officials are explaining Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri's return to Iran as the result of a defector having a change of heart because of his concern about Iranian government threats to his family. Iran and Amiri himself have insisted that it is a simple case of a victim of abduction escaping his captors.
But several features of the story of Amiri's defection suggest that Amiri may have been acting on Iranian government orders to defect temporarily in order to embarrass the U.S. government.
Amiri resurfaced only last month after having disappeared from Saudi Arabia during a pilgrimage in June 2009. He made two seemingly contradictory videos which appeared within hours of one another, the first charging that the United States had kidnapped him and brought him to the U.S. against his will, the second saying he was living in the U.S. freely to continue his education.
That mystery remained unresolved when Amiri turned up at the Pakistani Embassy Monday evening and said he wanted to return to Iran.
One indication that intelligence officials are now considering the real possibility that Amiri's defection was not really genuine is that questions are being raised about how the contact was made with Amiri in the first place.
ABC news had reported Mar. 31 that the CIA had approached Amiri through an intermediary and offered resettlement to the United States. But the Washington Post's David Ignatius, who is extraord... >>>
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