Inside the Middle East
July 14, 2010
Posted: 1013 GMT

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Shahram Amiri - a nuclear scientist Tehran claimed was kidnapped by U.S. agents - told a state-run television station in Iran that he was abducted by U.S. intelligence officials and faced "psychological warfare and pressure that are much worse than being in prison."

A man who says he is Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri appears in a YouTube video.
A man who says he is Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri appears in a YouTube video.

State-run Press TV said Wednesday that Amiri spoke in an interview after his escape, telling the channel, "I think I will be unable to get into details during this limited period of time and I will postpone it to when I am hopefully in my dear country Iran, so I can speak to the media and my own people with ease of mind and tell them about my ordeal over the past 14 months."

Amiri has left the United States and is headed back to Iran, the country's state-run media said Wednesday morning.

"Following the Islamic Republic's efforts and with the effective cooperation of the embassy of Pakistan in Washington ... Shahram Amiri left the United States and will arrive in Tehran via a third country," the news agency, IRNA, reported - quoting a foreign ministry spokesman.

Amiri, who is a researcher from Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, mysteriously disappeared in June 2009 while on a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, according to Iranian media reports.

On Monday, Amiri went to Iran's Interest Section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington and asked to be sent home.

The Iranian government has accused the United States of involvement in Amiri's disappearance, with Iran saying the researcher was taken to force him to give up data about Tehran's nuclear program.

In the Press TV interview, Amiri said he was kidnapped in Medina, Saudi Arabia, by three men in a van.

"Once I got into the van, the man who was inside said to me, 'Don't make any noise.' I was confused at the moment and had no idea what was happening," Amiri said Wednesday.

According to Amiri, he was later drugged and transported to the United States in a plane.

"I was under very special circumstances for 14 months in the United States. I was not completely free, nor was I like a prisoner, that is, in shackles as viewers might think," Amiri added. "I was in a completely unique situation which is very difficult to describe."

Press TV reported that Amiri was offered $10 million in bribes to cooperate with the United States.

A top Iranian lawmaker recently claimed that newly found documents back up Tehran's claims that the CIA is responsible for Amiri's disappearance, Iranian media reported Sunday.

Javad Jahangirzadeh, a member of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Iranian officials had turned over the documents to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran.

The U.S. State Department has denied that charge.

A U.S. official, who is not authorized to talk to the media about such issues, told CNN last month that it would be "ludicrous, absurd and even preposterous" to claim an individual was kidnapped by the United States and held against his will.

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Filed under: Iran •Science & Technology •U.S.

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Sasha   July 14th, 2010 10:19 am ET

To people outside the US, the USA is turning to a more open terrorist state by the day. We fear your government for being a Jewish led mafia clan equipt with nuclear weapons.

Zolta   July 14th, 2010 10:21 am ET

Did you ever take a good look at the scumbag AMERICA, the world terrorist, who never stopped with the war after WWII. Its killed millions and millions of inocent people. You may not like to see it, but at the moment, America is the greatest scumbag on earth.

Ryan   July 14th, 2010 10:26 am ET

Well if the CIA didn’t kidnap him then US Homeland Security has some serious explaining to do, as to how a Iranian with nuclear bomb knowledge could be allowed to come into the United States undetected. For all we know he could have been building a dirty nuke that George W. Obama keeps warning us about. Ya right. Ha ha ha.

I'm so sick of Israeli & American propaganda. At least they should be big enough to admit that they want a hate filled crusade against Muslims, to rob them of their natural resources. At least be honest about it!

Kennedy   July 14th, 2010 10:29 am ET

Isn’t it odd that Amiri suddenly turned up a few days after Iran said it gave the Swiss embassy proof that Amiri had been abducted. A few days was just about enough time for the Swiss to show the proof to the U.S., and then for the U.S. to decide what the hell to do. Just a coincidence, I imagine. (heavy sarcasm intended)

Eddie   July 14th, 2010 10:30 am ET

Bush=Obama=corrupt=owned=figure head=no real power=does what he is told=meet the new puppet=same as the old puppet.

Who is really in charge? Banksters, Pentagon, CIA, Military Industrial Complex, transnational oil companies, AIPAC.

Captain America   July 14th, 2010 10:33 am ET

Hrmmm. . . Wars, mass-surveillance, criminal economic mismanagement, torture, drone strikes on civilians. . .


Made in the USA has a new meaning these days.

miriam   July 14th, 2010 10:59 am ET

To the first five comments above,

With such knee-jerk reactions, rejecting anthing American, Israeli or Western, in favour of Islamic, totalitarian propaganda, myths and conspiracy is an offence to all the liberal values you supposedly stand for.

While the facts in this case are totally confused, it's absurd that the words of persistent liars from a state of severe repression are believed over those of a state of freedoms and rights.

John A   July 14th, 2010 2:45 pm ET

Miriam, Ryan's comment is not a knee jerk reaction. Actually he is being perfectly logical

The point being:

Option 1
America claims it is constantly guarding against terror threats, yet an Iranian nuclear scientist with the ability to create a deadly bomb has been left to run freely around America for weeks??

Option 2
America kidnapped him

Miriam learn to think for yourself, it will change your life!

miriam   July 15th, 2010 11:15 am ET

John A,

So what is blaming the US and Israel for everything?

Nothing more than having been bought by anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Western propaganda.

Toni   July 15th, 2010 3:30 pm ET

Thats wonderful, 5 million dollars and we handicapped people have to decide between food, bills and medicine.

John A   July 15th, 2010 6:21 pm ET

Miriam, not for the first time your Zionist tendencies have made you forget to answer the question, make a question or even make a point.

Can you attempt to write a blog which does not use the phrase anti Semitic or anti Israel. You have been asked to make sense and logic in the past, but up until now all you offer is rhetoric.

How about answering the question. Or does the need to think put to much strain on your totally unjustifiable beliefs.

Yeh , Toni the world is managed by selfish people. American politicians pretend they care about your security, but they don't care about your economy or medical investments. Its far better for them to kill brown people in pursuit of non existent weapons of mass destruction, than it is to help and heal their own nation.

But Miriam wont agree, she will claim that it is better for cancer victims to die without aid or paid medication because all the US tax money should be spent fighting Arab nations who have no ability or desire to hurt the USA.

Smith in Oregon   July 16th, 2010 9:58 pm ET

The U.S. is providing Israel with at least $7.0 million of free American taxpayer dollars each day* in military aid alone and is giving the Palestinians $0 in military aid during Fiscal Year 2009.

* The source for US military aid to Israel during Fiscal Year 2009 is the Congressional Research Service’s “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” written by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, updated February 3, 2009. According to this report, by early February 2009, the US taxpayers had already given Israel at least $2.55 billion ($2,500,000,000) in free military aid for Fiscal Year 2009.

Other free American taxpayer Billion dollar aid to Israel are even larger and intertwined with Israeli's military actions. Example 17 Billion free American taxpayer dollars to Israel for Israel to give back Golan Heights to Syria after Israel seized it during the previous war. Yep, American taxpayers gave Israel 17 Billion dollars to give that seized land back.

A November 2008 Washington Report article “A Conservative Estimate of Total Direct U.S. Aid to Israel: $114 Billion,” by Shirl McArthur, puts the cumulative total of free American taxpayer dollars to Israel is far higher.

According to McArthur, “[T]he indirect or consequential costs to the American taxpayer as a result of Washington’s blind support for Israel exceed by many times the amount of direct U.S. aid to Israel. ‘The Costs to American Taxpayers of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: $3 Trillion,’ by the late Thomas R. Stauffer, June 2003 Washington Report, p. 20.)”

3 TRILLION FREE AMERICAN TAXPAYER DOLLARS? That is far, far above the entire gross national domestic net production from the entire tiny State of Israel. However, fleets of state of the art military equipment run's hundreds of Billions of dollars and the tiny State of Israel couldn't afford the immense fleets of fighter jets, tanks, bombs and high tech military equipment if much of it weren't freely given to them by the American taxpayers.

Smith in Oregon   July 16th, 2010 10:01 pm ET

Shahram Amiri was offered 15 Million dollars by the CIA and the CIA placed 5 Million taxpayer dollars into a bank account for Shahram Amiri. All this during the same time the CIA buddy Republican Potty'ticians are obstructing and blocking extending unemployment benefits to Millions of Americans. Simply pathetic and as anti-America as you can get.

Smith in Oregon   July 16th, 2010 11:33 pm ET

The US Congressional Reporting Service (CRS) report states that from FY 1994 through FY 1998, Israel received $29 billion in waived loans. It is, therefore, reasonable to consider all loans to Israel as generally the same as grants. It is time for America to pull the plug on giving Israel enormous amounts of free American taxpayer dollars for nefarious and highly questionable aggression by the Israeli Defense forces on civilians across the Middle East. Targeting and murdering Arabic scientists is not winning the hearts and minds of the Middle Eastern people, it is a callous, crass International crime against humanity.

Fred Brun   July 17th, 2010 7:36 pm ET


So what is blaming Iran for everything?

Nothing more than having been bought by anti-Iranian, anti-Muslim, propaganda.

Smith in Oregon   July 17th, 2010 11:20 pm ET

Wow! It appears the United States National Security Agency (NSA) has unveiled it's latest ultimate snooping, invasive and eavesdropping tool targeting ALL Americans connected to the Nations Power-Grid!

During the utterly depraved invasive East Berlin era, the East German security forces discovered a very innovative mechanical means to connect to the city's hot water pipes supplying citizens heat radiator's which could be selectively tuned to eavesdrop and tune specifically into conversations in any residents home or dwelling! Using current computer technology, America's NSA has taken that to a new level of corrupt, invasive depravity with it's Operation 'Perfect Citizen' coming to your US Home soon!

The scope of the depraved invasion on American freedoms and liberty's in America's homes under Operation 'Perfect Citizen' is truly amazing. The NSA appears to have been given the 'Green Light' to attach NSA 'sensors' and 'computer links' to the Public Utility power feed-lines across America. This under the 'guise' of alerting the NSA against a cyber-attack upon a local Power Company's power-grid.

Americans are not universally stupid nor ignorant enough to even think the NSA cares about how much electrical energy Americans are using although in the past local heavy handed law enforcement agency's have targeted private individuals with heavy electrical energy for door busting marijuana searches.

However the vast number of American's do not realize how much information is received and carried already on the Nations Power Grid lines. Many home intra-net's now are using the power grid, metro-city areas are adopting intra-net and internet data processing thru home power grid's as direct tie-in's. ALL of the Nation's power grid operators pass messages, and ton's of information in digital and analog packet's on the very lines carrying power into your very homes!

In the most basic form, the nation's power grid forms a gigantic antenna array which picks up computer keystrokes and virtually all kinds of electrical signals which can in turn relay that specific information to the NSA under the 'Perfect Citizen' operation.

Sadly, this appears to directly go against President Obama's campaign promises of not allowing nor permitting further invasions of America's Freedoms, Liberty's and Rights which were entirely under assault during the horrific Republican administration of Bush-Cheney. Does this signal that like the CIA with Afghanistan's Opium-Heroin trafficking, America's NSA is no longer controlled by the Executive Branch of Government?

Sadly, this also signals that American citizens who thru alternative energy choose to 'go off the grid' will likely be harassed and targeted as unpatriotic and suspected of conducting unpatriotic activities.

Operation 'Perfect Citizen' illustrates the extreme height of paranoia in some of the dark, nefarious federal agency's in America much like East German security agency's prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

miriam   July 18th, 2010 7:15 am ET


How about researching the billions of dollars in aid given to other countries in the ME?

You'll find that in contrast to the solely military aid that Israel receives and most of which it repays, the amounts of economic and military aid to other countries is staggering and little is returned into the US economy.
Aid to Israel is drop in the bucket.

Why the singular obsession with Israel?

Mary   July 18th, 2010 7:52 pm ET

Netanyahu admits on video he deceived US to destroy Oslo accord!!

Amazing – the power of AIPAC, the acting branch of Israel’s Likud Party, to utterly dominate the jellyfish Americans never ceases to amaze. No matter what Israel does, no matter how much contempt Israel laughingly spits at the U.S., the U.S. is unconditionally Israel’s arse-clown.

When asked if the US will object, he responds: “America is something that can be easily moved. Moved to the right direction … They won’t get in our way … Eighty per cent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

proud zionist   July 18th, 2010 8:24 pm ET

The iranian scientist has been exposed as a double agent working for the madman from teheran

it was all over the net today!!

Smith in Oregon   July 19th, 2010 6:48 am ET

Miriam, Israel appears to receive around 1/4 to 1/3 of the Total International Funding that America gives to the entire World. That is Far, Far to much. Israel is a tiny country with a huge amount of very expensive military weaponry which they couldn't possibly afford to have, maintain, create nor even engineer themselves originally.

Ok, now they have it and it is time for America to stop treating Israel like a spoiled child. Israel needs to begin building a firm foundation of Peace with their neighbors and eventually the world or sink in the toxic morass of their own undoing. The spigot is running dry, America is fed up with giving and giving to Israel and getting kicked in the nuts over and over again for the effort.

proud zionist   July 19th, 2010 8:55 am ET

"AIPAC, the acting branch of Israel’s Likud Party"


miriam   July 20th, 2010 2:10 pm ET


It is easy to be misled by partial translations and radical left-wing commentators.

When was the video recorded?

At the height of the Palestinian second intifada when the Palestinians had outright rejected the Oslo Accords.

Who was he visiting?

Families of Israeli civilians who had been murdered by Palestinian terrorists..

What was Netanyahu's official position at the time?

None. He was out of politics.

Netanyahu of 2001 would never have formed a coalition with Labour, would not have created a building moritorium in settlements, would not have frozen building permits in Jerusalem and agreed to the release of a thousand Palestinian prisoners in return for one Israeli soldier.

Why only publicize the videos and transcripts of Israelis?

miriam   July 20th, 2010 2:22 pm ET


The 2010 US budget provided:

$75 bn to Afghanistan (military and economic)

$65 bn to Iraq (military and economic)

$3.25 bn to Pakistan (excluding yesterday's supplement of over $7 bn)
(military and economic)

$3 bn to Israel (only military)

One does not need list any other US international aid statistics to disprove your lie!

Ariely   July 20th, 2010 6:28 pm ET

*** OVER 15 MILION MUSLIMS KILLED BY MUSLIMSI, Then of thousand rapes and slavery***

Muslims are killing Muslims and blame the world
Same story – once again-- same story- -–same story --–- once again-

When they will learn to take responsibility?

Partial list of inter Muslim wars since 1948
- Egypt invasion of Yemen - Syria invasions of Jordan– Syria invasions of Lebanon—The Iraq Iran war-:Iran invasion of Kuwait–The Kurds conflicts in Turkey, Iraq ,Iran– Cyprus to de facto partition after Turkey invasion– The Shuni –Shia conflict-Lebanon civil wars–Sudan civil war – Sudan Darfur genocide and slavery– Algeria civil war– Morocco war with Polisario–Libya invasion of Chad–Somalia civil war–Yemen civil war–Christians communities chased all over the ME
Conflict details, dates and casualties are available at:
Muslims are killing worldwide- and blame the world

** 468 people killed and 837 injured 1-12 Jul 2010 and still counting
** 556 people killed and 826 injured by Islamists worldwide in Jun 2010
** 742 people killed by Islamists worldwide on May 2010
From: - India to Russia– -Philippines to England- -Thailand to New York--Uganda to Nepal-- Argentina to China-- France to Kenya-- And in all the 58 Muslim countries

I decided to posted this comment only after reading some comments that are out of any context to the blog subject

Bruce   July 21st, 2010 7:25 pm ET

July 21, 2010

Contrary to a news media narrative that Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri has provided intelligence on covert Iranian nuclear weapons work, CIA sources familiar with the Amiri case say he told his CIA handlers that there is no such Iranian nuclear weapons programme, according to a former CIA officer.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism official, told me that his sources are CIA officials with direct knowledge of the entire Amiri operation.

The CIA contacts say that Amiri had been reporting to the CIA for some time before being brought to the U.S. during Hajj last year, Giraldi said, initially using satellite-based communication. But the contacts also say Amiri was a radiation safety specialist who was “absolutely peripheral” to Iran’s nuclear programme, according to Giraldi.

Amiri provided “almost no information” about Iran’s nuclear programme, said Giraldi, but had picked up “scuttlebutt” from other nuclear scientists with whom he was acquainted that the Iranians have no active nuclear weapon programme.

Giraldi said information from Amiri’s debriefings was only a minor contribution to the intelligence community’s reaffirmation in the latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear programme of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)’s finding that work on a nuclear weapon has not been resumed after being halted in 2003.

Amiri’s confirmation is cited in one or more footnotes to the new intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear programme, called a “Memorandum to Holders”, according to Giraldi, but it is now being reviewed, in light of Amiri’s “re- defection” to Iran.

An intelligence source who has read the “Memorandum to Holders” in draft form confirmed that it presents no clear-cut departure from the 2007 NIE on the question of weaponisation. The developments in the Iranian nuclear programme since the 2007 judgment are portrayed as “subtle and complex”, said the source.

CIA officials are doing their best to “burn” Amiri by characterising him as a valuable long-term intelligence asset, according to Giraldi, in part in order to sow as much distrust of him among Iranian intelligence officials as possible.

But Giraldi said it is “largely a defence mechanism” to ward off criticism of the agency for its handling of the Amiri case.

“The fact is he wasn’t well vetted,” said Giraldi, adding that Amiri was a “walk- in” about whom virtually nothing was known except his job.

Although an investigation has begun within the CIA of the procedures used in the case, Giraldi said, Amiri’s erstwhile CIA handlers still do not believe he was a double agent or “dangle”.

What convinced CIA officers of Amiri’s sincerity, according to Giraldi, was Amiri’s admission that he had no direct knowledge of the Iranian nuclear programme.

A “dangle” would normally be prepared with some important intelligence that the U.S. is known to value.

Amiri’s extremely marginal status in relation to the Iranian nuclear programme was acknowledged by an unnamed U.S. official who told The New York Times and Associated Press Friday that Amiri was indeed a “low-level scientist”, but that the CIA had hoped to use him to get to more highly placed Iranian officials.

Giraldi’s revelations about Amiri’s reporting debunks a media narrative in which Amiri provided some of the key evidence for a reversal by the intelligence community of its 2007 conclusion that Iran had not resumed work on nuclear weapons.

An Apr. 25 story by Washington Post reporters Joby Warrick and Greg Miller said the long-awaited reassessment of the Iranian nuclear programme had been delayed in order to incorporate a “new flow of intelligence” coming from “informants, including scientists with access to Iran’s military programs&.”

They quote Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair as explaining in an interview that the delay was because of “information coming in and the pace of developments”.

Warrick and Miller reported that Amiri had “provided spy agencies with details about sensitive programs including a long-hidden uranium-enrichment plant near the city of Qom.” Their sources were said to be “current and former officials in the United States and Europe”.

Warrick and Miller could not get CIA officials to discuss Amiri. Instead they quoted the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) as saying that Amiri “has been associated with sensitive nuclear programs for at least a decade”.

NCRI is the political arm of Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), the anti-regime Iranian terrorist organization which has been a conduit for Israeli intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme.

On Jun. 8, David E. Sanger of the New York Times cited “foreign diplomats and some American officials” as sources in reporting that a series of intelligence briefings for members of the U.N. Security Council last spring amounted to “a tacit admission by the United States that it is gradually backing away” from the 2007 NIE. Sanger referred to “new evidence” that allegedly led analysts to “revise and in some cases reverse” that estimate’s conclusion that Iran was no longer working on a nuclear weapon.

Sanger cited “Western officials” as confirming that Amiri was providing some of the new information.

Three days later, the Washington Post ran another story quoting David Albright, director of the Institute for Science and International Security, as saying that the intelligence briefings for Security Council members had included “information about nuclear weaponisation” obtained from Amiri.

Albright said he had been briefed on the intelligence earlier that week, and the Post reported a “U.S. official” had confirmed Albright’s account.

Subsequently, ABC News reported that Amiri’s evidence had “helped to contradict” the 2007 NIE, and McClatchy Newspapers repeated Albright’s allegation and the conclusion that the new assessment had reversed the intelligence conclusion that Iran had ceased work related to weaponisation.

In creating that false narrative, journalists have evidently been guided by personal convictions on the issue that are aligned with certain U.S., European and Israeli officials who have been pressuring the Barack Obama administration to reject the 2007 estimate.

For the Israelis and for some U.S. officials, reversing the conclusion that Iran is not actively pursuing weaponisation is considered a precondition for manoeuvring U.S. policy into a military confrontation with Iran.

miriam   July 22nd, 2010 7:18 pm ET


One shouldn't take CounterPunch too seriously.
It's simply a portal for leftist hate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yusil   July 23rd, 2010 5:46 am ET

Iranians hold someone and it’s a criminal act. When Americans hold someone without recourse to International accepted standards of law, it is normal. Try to enter the US illegally and see what happens to you. The US abducts people in foreign countries, tortures them and justifies this as self defence. Sounds familiar? Countries who presently have power will always arrogantly act this way in their perceived self interest, image trying to negotiate with the Nazis when they ruled Europe. You can see this mindset with Korea, Sudan, and Israel to name a few.

CounterPunch is actually factually informative, unfortunately it rubs the Fascists the wrong way.

John A   July 23rd, 2010 8:31 am ET

Bruce Miriam is the expert on spreading hate, you can listen to her or you can continue with the freedom to read what you want.

miriam   July 25th, 2010 1:16 pm ET


Factually informative?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They make most of it up.

Today there is an alliance between the radical leftists and the fascists.

They tend to ignore their differences.

John A   July 27th, 2010 12:43 pm ET

I see CNN continues with its unhealthy tradition of always allowing pro Israeli propaganda the last word on each blog.

Yusil   July 27th, 2010 2:33 pm ET


As usual you don't address the points which are made you simply rant.
As for your reflection on CounterPunch, I would like to point out that you reflect the worst in right wing fascism. CP reflects the spirit of true Western Civilization and is represented by some of the most prominent reporters, authors and experts in International affairs. Your propaganda is becoming stale.

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