Iranian Scientist: US Wanted to Trade Me for Hikers

Shahram Amiri spills the details in a televised interview
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2010 9:00 AM CDT
Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, wipes sweat during his news briefing while holding his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

(Newser) – The Iranian scientist who claims to have been kidnapped by the CIA says American agents pressured him to confess to being a spy as part of a master plan to free three hikers who have been held by Iran for a year. Except that Shahram Amiri, who returned home to a hero's welcome in Tehran, didn't call them hikers in the interview, which ran on state television Saturday. “They told me that if I confess to being an Iranian intelligence agent, they could trade me with the three spies who were caught near the Iraqi border."

The interviewer asked him to confirm that the agent said "spy," and Amiri replied, “Yes, they used the word ‘spy’ and told me that trading spies between countries is quite normal." He also said he spent weeks taking lie detector tests and being interview by his American captors before they determined they had made a mistake in abducting him, reports the New York Times. “After that, they thought there might be some hope that I would cooperate with them in the media.”

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