Iran General NewsMystery over missing Iranian in Saudi deepens

Mystery over missing Iranian in Saudi deepens

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ImageAFP: The mystery over an Iranian missing in Saudi Arabia deepened on Saturday after a local newspaper said the US Central Intelligence Agency was involved in his disappearance. ImageTEHRAN (AFP) – The mystery over an Iranian missing in Saudi Arabia deepened on Saturday after a local newspaper said the US Central Intelligence Agency was involved in his disappearance.

Hardline paper Javan (Young), quoting the unnamed wife of the man, who she claims is a physics researcher, said her husband, Shahram Amiri, went missing exactly 130 days ago from the holy city of Medina in western Saudi Arabia.

"CIA is accused number one," according to the front-page report in the newspaper, which gave a version of Amiri's disappearance while on his way to take part in a Muslim mini-pilgrimage.

The report said that Amiri left for Saudi Arabia on May 31 and upon his arrival was "questioned by Saudi agents at the airport for a longer time than other pilgrims."

"Three days later when he left his hotel in Medina, he never returned," the report said, adding that Amiri was a researcher at Tehran's Malek-Ashtar University of Technology.

The newspaper quoted his wife as saying he was "only a researcher and did not hold any government post."

"His research was in the field of physics as it was his specialised subject. Since he reached Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government must be held responsible for his disappearance," she said.

"It has been four months that we have had no news from him. The last time he called was from Medina. He had gone there on a pilgrimage visa."

In recent weeks, several regional Arabic newspapers have speculated that Amiri was a nuclear scientist, but Tehran has evaded the question of his occupation.

On October 7, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki charged that there was a US hand behind Amiri's disappearance.

"We have obtained documents that show US interference in the disappearance of Shahram Amiri in Saudi Arabia," Mottaki was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Mottaki suggested Amiri has been arrested and the United States was involved.

"We consider Saudi Arabia responsible for the situation of Shahram Amiri and we consider Americans to have been involved in his arrest," Mottaki was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Saturday's Javan report suggested Amiri was not a nuclear scientist as speculated by the regional Arabic media, which also said he was involved in Iran's newly disclosed uranium enrichment facility near Qom.

"Amiri disappeared about four months ago, while Western intelligence services have said they knew about the Qom facility at least six months ago," the report said.

It suggested there was no connection between Amiri's disappearance and media reports that he had provided information on the Qom plant to Western intelligence services.

The UN atomic watchdog revealed last month that Iran had informed it on September 21 about the new uranium facility. The revelation triggered worldwide outrage against Tehran led by US President Barack Obama.

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