Iran Fingers US in Scientist's Disappearance

Researcher, AWOL in Saudi Arabia, rumored to work at Qom facility
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 8:30 AM CDT
This satellite image taken Saturday Sept. 26, 2009, provided by GeoEye shows a facility under construction inside a mountain located about 20 miles north northeast of Qom, Iran.   (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image, IHS Jane's Analysis)
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(Newser) – Iran’s foreign minister has accused the US of conspiring with Saudi Arabia in the disappearance of Shahram Amiri, a scientist thought to be involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Amiri disappeared four months ago on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia—around the time President Obama asked for a report on the Qom facility. “We’ve obtained documents about US involvement,” Manouchehr Mottaki said yesterday. “We hold Saudi Arabia responsible for Shahram Amiri’s situation and consider the US to be involved in his arrest.”

Amiri is a researcher at a university connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and was on an EU list last year of scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear activities. Links to the Qom facility are unconfirmed, the Washington Post reports, but an Iranian news site is claiming he defected to the US with info on the facility. A State Department spokesman professed ignorance about the case. An Iranian analyst said the government was probably worried Amiri had defected.