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Iranian scientist defects: US covert ops hurt Iran nuclear program

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The rector of the university, a lieutenant general, was named in the UN Security Council’s first round of sanctions on Iran in 2006 as one of seven “persons involved in the nuclear program.”

Iranian news reports refer to Amiri as an “academic.” Last October Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran had documents proving that the US had abducted Amiri and also played a role in the March 2007 disappearance in Istanbul of retired Deputy Defense Minister Alireza Asgari, who also reportedly defected and has helped Western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

Last December, however, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, told the Fars News Agency — which has close links to the Revolutionary Guard — that Amiri had “no links” with the AEOI and was never employed by it.

Still, three months after Amiri disappeared during a June 2009 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Iran quietly informed the UN’s nuclear watchdog that it was building a small uranium enrichment plant near Qom, south of Tehran – apparently after learning that US intelligence had become aware of the facility, and to preempt by a day President Obama’s announcement of its existence.

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