US Says “Abducted” Iranian Nuclear Scientist Worked for CIA

An Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have been abducted by US security officials had actually been cooperating with the CIA before his stunning turnaround this week. US officials said Shahram Amiri received more than $5 million in exchange for information regarding Iran’s nuclear program, which Washington believes is aimed at developing weapons of mass destruction.

Amiri requested to be sent back to Iran this week, claiming that he was abducted by US agents and forced to reveal sensitive information regarding Tehran’s controversial nuclear program. He arrived in Tehran on Thursday to a hero’s welcome, but without the money he was paid for the information he gave to the CIA. “Anything he got is now beyond his reach, thanks to the financial sanctions on Iran,” a US official said.

Amiri, who claimed that the CIA offered him $50 million to remain in the US, was first reported missing in Saudi Arabia around May last year. US officials said the scientist had been working with the CIA for more than a year. It is not known what kind of information the CIA got from Amiri, who declared upon his return that he was only a “simple researcher.” However, a US official said that the payment to Amiri indicated that the CIA received something in return. “You don’t give something for nothing,” the official said.