Abducted Iran scientist: CIA offered me $50m to lie about nuclear secrets

From: The Independent

An Iranian scientist who says he was abducted and taken to the United States by the CIA returned to Tehran yesterday to a hero’s welcome and claimed that he had been pressured into lying about his country’s nuclear programme.

Shahram Amiri said that he was on the hajj pilgrimage when he was seized at gunpoint in the city of Medina, drugged and taken to the US, where he says Israel was involved in his interrogation. In the US, officials were reported to have admitted that Mr Amiri was paid more than $5m (£3.2m) by the CIA for information about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The US claims to have received useful information from him in return for the money, but is clearly embarrassed by his very public return to Iran. The offer of a large bribe is reportedly part of a special US programme to get Iranian nuclear scientists to defect.

Flashing a victory sign, Mr Amiri returned to Tehran International Airport to be greeted by senior officials and by his tearful wife and seven-year-old son, whom he had not seen since he disappeared in Saudi Arabia during a visit 14 months ago. Iran said it was demanding information about what had happened to him. …

At his press conference at Tehran airport, Mr Amiri stressed that he had acted under compulsion. “Israeli agents were present at some of my interrogation sessions and I was threatened to be handed over to Israel if I refused to cooperate with Americans,” he said. “I have some documents proving that I’ve not been free in the United States and have always been under the control of armed agents of US intelligence services.”

He says he was offered $50m to stay in the US. …

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