UPDATE: 7:53 a.m. EDT — Iranian journalist Hossein Dalirian, who works for the Tasnim news agency, said on his Twitter account (in Arabic) Sunday that a judiciary spokesman said Shahram Amiri had access to American military secrets and other vital information.
An Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have been abducted by the U.S. was allegedly executed in Iran, reports said Saturday.
Shahram Amiri went missing in 2009 when he was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. A year later, a series of videos surfaced in which a man who claimed to be Amiri said he had been kidnapped by U.S. spies and was pressured to cooperate with the CIA. The man in the videos said he was under “intense psychological pressure to reveal sensitive information” to the CIA.
But U.S. officials said Amiri had defected and had willingly provided information to security forces. A source reportedly said of Amiri’s return to Iran, “He provided useful information to the United States. The Iranians now have him. In terms of win-loss, it's not even a close call.”
Amiri returned to Tehran in 2010 to a hero’s welcome. However, he disappeared again soon after.
His family reportedly said they were allowed to see Amiri on Tuesday, the day before his execution. His mother told the BBC that when her son’s body was returned to their hometown, it had rope marks around his neck, suggesting he had been hanged. He was buried later.
In 2015, emails sent to Hillary Clinton in 2010 — when she was Secretary of State — were released by the State Department which, according to reports, supported what U.S. officials had long maintained — that Amiri was not abducted but a paid informant who changed his mind.
When Amiri left for Tehran, he reportedly left behind nearly $5 million which the CIA offered him in exchange for information regarding Iranian nuclear weapons program. “He's gone,” a U.S. official said, “but the money's still here.”