Iran executes nuclear scientist who ‘defected to the US in return for $5m’ but then mysteriously returned home and claimed he had been kidnapped by the CIA
- Shahram Amiri went missing after leaving for pilgrimage to Mecca
- Disappeared in 2009 but appeared in video reportedly filmed in US
- Claimed to have been put under pressure to give information to CIA
- He has claimed he was abducted by US agents in Saudi Arabia
- Then went to Iranian interests section of Pakistani embassy in Washington
- There he demanded to be sent back to Iran – and returned a ‘hero’
- News will raise concerns for aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
An Iranian nuclear scientist accused of giving information to the CIA in exchange for $5million has been executed, and his hanged body returned to his family.
Shahram Amiri was killed for ‘revealing secrets to the enemy’, Iranian officials have said.
The researcher went missing in 2009 after leaving for a pilgrimage to Mecca, but appeared in a video – apparently recorded in the U.S. – in which he claimed to have been put under pressure to ‘reveal sensitive information’ to the intelligence agency.
In interviews he has claimed he was drugged, put on a plane, and then kept under ‘psychological pressure’ at an undisclosed location in the U.S.
There he was asked to hand over classified documents, but he claims he never did as he didn’t want to betray his country.
He then walked into the Iranian interests section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington and demanded to be sent home.
He came back to a heroes welcome and insisted he was a ‘simple researcher’.
Amiri worked for a university affiliated with Tehran’s extensive nuclear program.
He is said to have had an in-depth knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program and was kept at a secret location after returning to the country.
According to CBS, he told officials in interviews he was being held against his will by Saudi and U.S. spies.
But American officials said he was set to receive millions for informing
Amiri’s mother told the BBC that his body had been sent to her with rope marks around his neck.
On Sunday, an Iranian judicial spokesman confirmed the execution had taken place.
He told the Mizan Online news site: ‘Shahram Amiri was hanged for revealing the country’s top secrets to the enemy (US).’
In another recording filmed when he was missing, the scientist suggested he had fled from the USA, where he had been held against his will.
But US officials said they paid Amiri some $5 million to defect and provide ‘significant’ information about Iran’s atomic program.
Amiri later fled the U.S. without the money.
Iranian officials previously touted Amiri’s claim he had been abducted by U.S. agents while on a pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia.
They welcomed him home in 2010 as a hero.
But his family confirmed to the BBC he had been given a lengthy jail sentence after returning to the Middle East.
The State Department declined to comment on Amiri’s execution.
Shakram Amiri appeared in a video in which he claimed to have been put under pressure to ‘reveal sensitive information’ by the CIA. Upon his return to Tehran, Iranian authorities backed up his claim to have been treated to a ‘hero’s welcome’.
Amiri’s disappearance will raise concerns about the future of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian aid worker being held by Tehran.
The 37-year-old, who was arrested as she tried to leave Iran after a visit with her two-year-old daughter, appeared in the Revolutionary Court on Monday.
‘We continue to raise our strong concerns about British prisoners in Iran, including Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, at the highest levels in both London and Tehran,’ a spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a London-based charity that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.
The Foreign Office spokeswoman said former Prime Minister David Cameron had repeatedly raised the case with his Iranian counterpart.
‘We are deeply concerned by recent reports that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been charged but has not been allowed to see a lawyer,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘We remain ready to facilitate Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter’s return to the UK if requested.’
Amiri’s disappearance will raise concerns about the future of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian aid worker being held by Tehran