Iran wants scientist's 'return without obstacles': minister

13th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Iranian nuclear scientist who has taken refuge at the Pakistani embassy in Washington should be allowed to return to his homeland, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday.

"We hope that, without any obstacle, he can return to his country, that they (the United States), do not create any obstacle for his return to his homeland," he told a news conference in Madrid.

"We have received the news that Shahram Amiri, who was kidnapped in Saudi Arabia... has appeared recently in the United States and that he has sought refuge at the Iranian interests section at the Pakistani embassy," he added.

The minister, who was speaking through an interpreter, said Amiri "had asked to return home".

Earlier Tuesday Iranian state television's website reported that Amiri had taken refuge at the interest section, which is overseen by the Pakistani embassy in Washington, and added he had asked "for a quick return to Tehran."

Amiri soon afterwards told the channel's New York reporter by telephone from the interest section that the Americans had wanted to try to resolve the affair quietly but had failed, the website said.

Iranian officials have long maintained that Amiri was kidnapped by US agents from Saudi Arabia last year after he arrived for a Muslim pilgrimage.

Prior to his disappearance Amiri worked in Tehran's Malek Ashtar University of Technology which is believed to be close to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

Last week, Iran said it submitted "evidence" to the Swiss embassy that Amiri was abducted by US intelligence agents. The Swiss embassy manages Washington's interests in Iran.

US officials have dismissed the allegations in the Iranian broadcast.

Amiri disappeared in May 2009 after arriving in Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage, according to his wife. Iran accused US agents of abducting him with the help of Saudi intelligence services.

Pakistan has confirmed that Amiri was at the Iranian interest section in Washington and that steps were being taken for his repatriation to Tehran.

© 2010 AFP

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