An Iranian nuclear scientist who had defected to the US was executed in Iran, according to reports in the local press on Saturday.
Shahram Amiri was a nuclear researcher at Malek Ashtar University of Technology and worked for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. He is said to have had in-depth knowledge of Iran’s rogue nuclear program.
His family said he was executed on August 3 and that they had been allowed to visit him the day before.
Amiri disappeared briefly while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in 2009 and resurfaced in Washington some time later.
While in the US, he recorded and posted a series of bizarre videos, first claiming he had been kidnapped by US and Saudi agents and forced to reveal sensitive information while “under intense psychological pressure,” and in a second video, saying he was living in Arizona and wanted to study there. In a later post, he said he wanted to go home.
According to some reports, his family was harassed and tortured in a bid to force him to return to Iran, which he did in 2010 to a hero’s welcome, before disappearing again.
It later became clear that he had been arrested and given a long prison sentence. He was reportedly held under very difficult conditions.