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Twist and Turn: Iran now says Amiri was double agent

۳۱ تیر ۱۳۸۹

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The story of the ‘disappearing/reappearing nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri seems to be never-ending. Iran started a new episode in the story, claiming on Wednesday that the Iranian nuclear scientist had provided “valuable information” about the Central Intelligence Agency’s (C.I.A.) inner workings.

American officials have said that Shahram Amiri was a C.I.A. informant for years in Iran, providing “significant” information about Iran’s nuclear program and voluntarily defecting to the United States in 2009. Mr. Amiri returned to Iran last week, saying he had been abducted and tortured by American authorities.

Iran now appears to be turning those claims around, casting Mr. Amiri — whose fate seemed uncertain after his return last week — as the double-agent hero of a plan to outwit American intelligence agencies and provide false nuclear data. His story is being made into a television movie by a company affiliated with Iran’s state network, said the semiofficial Fars news agency.

“He never had access to American intelligence information,” said one American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because details of the case remained classified. “That’s a joke. When you stack what Amiri might have learned here — what he had for dinner or the fake name of someone who might have come to see him — up against verified insights about Iran’s nuclear program, it’s crystal clear that we got the better end of things.”

American officials say that Mr. Amiri provided details of how a university in Tehran became the covert headquarters of Iran’s nuclear efforts, and that he became a source for a much disputed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s suspected weapons program.

American officials have described Mr. Amiri’s tale of being abducted during a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and later held against his will in the United States as a “fantasy” intended to save his life.

But even if he is held up as a hero now, some analysts say Mr. Amiri’s fate in the longer term is still uncertain, if only because Iran must make it clear to other potential defectors that there is a price to be paid for such actions.

Also on Wednesday, Iran announced bold plans for its nuclear program, saying that it would conduct studies for the building of a nuclear fusion reactor, the news agency IRNA reported. Generating energy through nuclear fusion has long been a dream for physicists.

source: The New York Times

Tehran Review
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