'Kidnapped' Iranian Scientist Was Paid $5M: US
Shahram Amiri arrives back in Iran, minus CIA cash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2010 6:06 AM CDT
Updated Jul 15, 2010 7:51 AM CDT
Shahram Amiri holds his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein as he arrives at the Imam Khomeini airport just outside Tehran today.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – The Iranian nuclear scientist who says he was kidnapped by the CIA was paid $5 million by the agency for spilling the beans on the country's nuclear program, US officials say. Shahram Amiri arrived home in Iran to a hero's welcome today, telling reporters he had been pressured to betray his homeland and offered $50 million to stay in the US.

Amiri is back in Iran but the money has stayed behind in the US and officials say sanctions mean he won't be able to access it. "He's gone," a US official tells the Washington Post, "but his money's not. We have his information, and the Iranians have him." Amiri, they say, was in America voluntarily but left out of fear for his family's safety. "He just wanted to see his family and, unfortunately, he chose a dumb way to do it," the official adds, accusing the scientist of "lying about what happened to him here to try to build up his credibility back home."