AFP: A man claiming to be an Iranian nuclear scientist whom Tehran alleges the United States kidnapped said he has escaped from US agents, in a video screened on Tuesday on Iranian television.
TEHRAN (AFP) — A man claiming to be an Iranian nuclear scientist whom Tehran alleges the United States kidnapped said he has escaped from US agents, in a video screened on Tuesday on Iranian television.
“I am Shahram Amiri, a citizen of the Islamic republic. A few minutes ago I managed to escape from the hands of US intelligence agents in Virginia,” said the man in the footage shown on state television.
“I could be re-arrested at any time by US agents… I am not free and I’m not allowed to contact my family. If something happens and I do not return home alive, the US government will be responsible,” he said.
“I ask Iranian officials and organisations that defend human rights to raise pressure on the US government for my release and return to my country,” the man said, adding he has not “betrayed” Iran.
Amiri, the nuclear scientist, disappeared in June 2009 after arriving in Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage. Iran says the United States abducted him with the help of Saudi intelligence services.
ABC news in the United States reported in March that Amiri had defected and was working with the US Central Intelligence Agency.
A US official on Tuesday dismissed the allegations in the Iranian broadcast. “It’s ludicrous for anyone to allege that the United States kidnapped this individual,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
In June, Iranian state television aired a video in which a man identifying himself as Amiri said he was abducted by US agents and was being held near Tucson, Arizona.
Iran said it would use legal channels to secure his release.
In response, Washington denied the Iranian accusations, with State Department spokesman Philip Crowley refusing to say whether or not Amiri was in the United States.