Abduction or Defection ?After Shahram Amiri, leading scientist of the Iranian nuclear programme, disappeared during his pilgrimage to Mecca in 2009, the Iranian government openly accused U.S. intelligence of having abducted one of their most prominent experts. In the time following, different videos appeared on the internet about the abduction which should have been carried out by U.S. and Saudi intelligence. Those videos are partly related to Shahram Amiri himself.
Now, Amiri obviously reappeared in the Embassy of Pakistan, right in the middle of Washington DC, where he was "dropped at the backdoor". According to a foreign ministry spokesman in Islamabad, Amiri is expected to travel back to his country as soon as Iranian officials have arranged his safe return. In one of his messages to the world he pretended to having fled from his U.S. guards and was now making his way through the federal state of Virginia.
Al-Jazeera made Amiri's reappearance a subject of the day. You can read the English language article and look at the news video of Al-Jazeera's Arabic channel that was registered in order to provide material for an overall analysis of the incident.
The video is showing Amiri at the time of an interview that has been preserved in the archives of Al-Jazeera. Furthermore, an Iranian writer and political analyst is giving his comment on the Amiri affair directly from Teheran. It should be noted that even a journalist like him, considered to be independent, uses the appropriate religious formula to introduce his comment "in the name of Allah", just like any official Iranian broadcasting service does.
قالت الإذاعة الإيرانية اليوم الثلاثاء إن العالم النووي الإيراني المفقود شهرام أميري لجأ إلى سفارة باكستان في واشنطن حيث مكتب شعبة المصالح الإيرانية في الولايات المتحدة، وأنه طلب العودة فورا إلى بلاده
CommentHaving learnt much about CIA proceedings during the past decades, I tend to believe the story as just another proof of professional incompetence. Nevertheless, it makes sense to argue that Amiri was nothing else but a defector who had reason enough to leave his country early before a long expected military showdown might turn his working place into a premium target for all kinds of U.S. missiles. Considering the typical biography of people who once studied abroad, almost free from political and religious constraint, it becomes understandable that such people rather tend to choose their own destinity than wait for it. The Iranian regime, on the other hand, leaves little hope for less pressure on its subjects and for a more reasonable foreign policy. So, lets better leave it like that, and lets U.S. intelligence take the blame for all of the story. They deserved it anyway ... !
UPDATE July 18, 2010
Shahram Amiri returned to Teheran and informed the press about what he calls "his abduction in the frame of U.S. pressure to make him confess being a member of the Iranian state security". If he had confessed, he would have been used in a "spy swap that should have freed three U.S. agents".
According to a press briefing held by U.S. State Department official Crowley, those three American citizens should be regarded as "nothing else but hikers who passed an unmarked border by chance". Their "safe return was therefore expected to be only a matter of time after Amiri's return of his own free will".
By the way, it should be remembered that U.S. authorities earlier offered a sum of five million dollars for essential information on the Iranian nuclear programme. On this subject there was no further information available in the frame of the Amiri case. Though, Iranian state security might ask some unpleasant questions sooner or later.
At the same time, an interesting voice made itself heard from Cuba where old Fidel Castro appeared on TV and spoke about "the danger of nuclear warfare coming in sight when Western pressure on Iran will be further increased". Maybe, there sounds "his old master's voice" from Moscow that is, even today, far from accepting increased U.S. influence in its Central Asian backyard. The proof: Russia still provides modern weaponry to Iran (even including cruise-missiles) and has offered to ship enriched uranium to his Iranian partner in order to soften the political tensions between Teheran and the Western world.