Missing Iranian Scientist Mysteriously Appears at Pakistani Embassy In DC
July 13, 2010
(ChattahBox)—As if this story couldn’t get any weirder. Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who vanished last year after a religious trip to Mecca, has resurfaced at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC. Iran has long accused the C.I.A of kidnapping Amiri. And dueling YouTube videos making the rounds of the Internet soon after his disappearance, added more intrigue to the case. One video appeared to show Amiri describing his kidnapping and escape from U.S. authorities, while another depicted the missing scientist, saying he came to America of his own free will to complete his studies at an unnamed university. Whatever the case, Amiri is now apparently in the process of returning home to Iran. Is this the beginning of another prisoner swap to obtain the release of the three American hikers being held in Iran?
It’s hard to decipher the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of Amiri’s sudden appearance, but as noted by the NY Times, little of this story makes sense. “If the Iranian version is true, it is not clear how the man was able to reach the Pakistani Embassy. If the second version is accurate, it is not clear why he would want to take refuge at the embassy.”
P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, confirmed that Amiri was indeed at Iran’s diplomatic Interests Section at the Pakistani Embassy, and that he traveled there “on his own.”
The Washington Post hints that a prison swap to free the American hikers may be behind Amiri’s resurfacing at the embassy Monday night, asking for a passport and a plane ticket to Iran.
“Before Amiri resurfaced, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had hinted that he would be interested freeing three American hikers being held in Iran in exchange for the return of the scientist, along with an unspecified number of Iranians who are in U.S. custody.”
But CNN is reporting that Crowley is denying the prisoner swap scenario.
“Responding to a question about a potential “prisoner swap,” Crowley said the United States remains concerned about three American hikers being held against their will in Iran and Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran two years ago. But he denied any suggestion of a swap.”
Curiouser and curiouser.