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(June 30) -- Iranian state television has broadcast a video of a man who purports to be an abducted Iranian nuclear scientist, and he now claims that he has escaped from U.S. custody.
Shahram Amiri -- an expert in radioactive isotopes at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, which has close ties to the Revolutionary Guard -- mysteriously vanished in June 2009, just three day after arriving in Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Iran has claimed that the U.S. kidnapped Amiri with the help of the Saudis. But in March, ABC News reported that the scientist had willingly defected and was
This is the third video of the scientist, or his impersonator, to surface in as many weeks. Earlier this month Iranian TV showed footage of a man calling himself Amiri who said he'd been kidnapped, taken to America and tortured. Shortly after that footage appeared, a second video turned up on the Internet, also purporting to be from Amiri, in which he said he was studying in the United States. In Tuesday's footage, the man labeled that second Internet video "a sheer lie."
The State Department has refused to confirm whether Amiri is being held -- willingly or not -- in the U.S. But Washington has rejected claims that the person in the latest video had been detained by American agents. "It's ludicrous for anyone to suggest that this individual was kidnapped by the United States," a Washington official told Reuters on Tuesday. "If he's able to produce videos, it defies human logic to allege that he's somehow been held against his will by Americans."