Iran Blames U.S. in Nuke Scientist's Disappearance

Vanished expert may have worked on illegal Qom facility

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010  |  Updated 12:55 PM CDT
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Iran Blames U.S. in Nuke Scientist's Disappearance

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President Obama and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be on a collision course over nukes.

Iran claims the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are behind the mysterious disappearance of a nuclear scientist who vanished four months ago while on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The charge, involving Shahram Amiri, comes less than a week after Iran reached tentative deals with the U.S. and other major powers to let international inspectors visit its newly disclosed uranium-enrichment site near Qom. Amiri was a researcher at Malek Ashtar University, which is connected to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and was listed by the European Union last year as an entity linked to Iran's nuclear activities or weapon delivery systems.

"We've obtained documents about U.S. involvement over Shahram Amiri's disappearance," Iranian Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said. The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Mottaki as saying, "We hold Saudi Arabia responsible for Shahram Amiri's situation and consider the U.S. to be involved in his arrest."

Some reports have linked Amiri to the Qom facility. An Iranian news Web site, Jahan News, claimed that he had defected to the United States with information on the facility. The Saudi-owned Sharq al-Wasat newspaper reported him to be a nuclear scientist who worked at the Qom facility and said that he had taken refuge in Saudi Arabia.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, "We just basically don't have any information on this individual."
 

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