Iran scientist was longtime CIA informant: Report

The Iranian nuclear scientist claims he was abducted a year ago by US agents.

Last Updated: Jul 16, 2010, 10:22 AM IST

Washington: The Iranian nuclear scientist who says he was abducted a year ago by US agents was an informant for the CIA inside Iran for several years, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing US officials.

Shahram Amiri returned to Tehran early on Thursday, saying he was pressured to lie about Iran`s nuclear program. Washington denied kidnapping Amiri and insisted he had lived freely in the United States.

Officials said the scientist described to US intelligence officers details of how a university in Tehran became the covert headquarters for Iran`s nuclear efforts, the newspaper reported.

While still in Iran, he was also one of the sources for a much-disputed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran`s suspected weapons program, published in 2007, the officials were cited as saying.

One official said Amiri provided "significant, original" information about secret aspects of his country`s nuclear program, the newspaper said.

The US officials told the newspaper that at some point while working as a secret informant, Amiri visited Saudi Arabia, where the CIA arranged to spirit him out of that country.

Amiri eventually arrived in the United States and settled in Arizona. The Times said it was unclear whether he tried to bring his wife and son with him.

Bureau Report