Iran says the Iranian nuclear scientist who sought refuge in the Pakistani Embassy compound in Washington has left the US and is on his way home to Tehran.
Iran’s foreign ministry says the scientist, Shahram Amiri, would fly home yesterday, traveling through a third country. Hassan Ghashghavi, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, says Amiri was expected to arrive early today in Tehran. He says the scientist would make a stopover in Qatar.
Iran has claimed that Amiri, who disappeared while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last year, was abducted by US agents.
Washington denied the allegation amid speculation and US media reports that he had defected to the US. Amiri surfaced on Monday evening at the Pakistani embassy.
His case could embarrass US efforts to gather intelligence on Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
Before leaving Washington where he took refuge on Tuesday in Iran’s Interests Section office, Amiri told Iranian Press TV channel he will reveal the details of his “ordeal” to local media on reaching Tehran.
“A few moments ago, Shahram Amiri left US soil ... for Iran following efforts taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the effective cooperation of the Pakistani embassy in Washington,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
Repeating accusation that Amiri was kidnapped by US agents, Mehmanparast said Iran would continue to pursue his case “legally and diplomatically.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters on Tuesday there was nothing stopping Amiri returning to Iran.
“He’s free to go. He was free to come. These decisions are his alone to make,” she said.
But in a twist to the bizarre saga which has baffled the media for several months, US officials confirmed on Tuesday that they had been in touch with Amiri since his arrival in the US.
US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Amiri “has been here for some time, I’m not going to specify for how long, but he has chosen to return.”
“The United States government has maintained contact with him,” he told reporters.
Crowley refused to comment on whether Amiri had provided the US with intelligence but said US officials had been in contact with him.
US television network ABC first reported Amiri’s defection in March and quoted officials saying it was an “intelligence coup” in efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.
Amiri himself has insisted US agents had kidnapped him.
“My abduction is a detailed story,” he told Press TV channel in an interview given in Washington soon after he reached the Interests Section.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,