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Iran praises "abducted" Iranian scholar's "resistance" to U.S. "pressures"

07-16-2010 15:11 BJT

TEHRAN, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Iran on Thursday praised the " abducted" Iranian scholar's "resistance" to the U.S. "threats and pressures" while he was in the United States.

Shahram Amiri arrived at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport early Thursday morning, where he was welcomed by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi along with his family.

Talking to reporters at the airport, Qashqavi praised Shahram Amiri's resistance to the "threats," "bribery" and "pressures" exerted by the United States.

Amiri, 32, told a news conference that he was abducted by CIA agents when he was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in June last year and was transferred to the United States later.

The Iranian scholar who once worked at Iran's Malek Ashtar University told reporters his abduction by the CIA was part of the U.S. campaign to add political pressures to Iran.

He said that he was interrogated and tortured by U.S. and Israeli agents who wanted classified information about Iran's nuclear projects from him.

"In the first two months in the United States, I was subjected to the most severe mental and psychological pressures and tortures by the CIA interrogators," said Amiri.

He said that the Americans urged him to announce that he had carried a laptop containing information about Iran's sensitive nuclear program.

Amiri added that the U.S. agents had threatened to transfer him to Israel to be imprisoned there if he refused to cooperate with them.

He also said that U.S. security officials attempted to "bribe" him to use him for their political ends against the Islamic Republic but they failed.

"They told me they will give me 50 million U.S. dollars and provide my family and I with proper living conditions in an European country if I give up my decision of returning to Iran," he said in the press conference upon his arrival to Tehran on Thursday morning.

Amiri went on by adding that the U.S. officials offered him another "10 million U.S. dollars for a 10-minute interview with CNN" to say that he came to the U.S. out of his free will and had sought asylum to the U.S..

Meanwhile, Qashqavi dismissed reports that Amiri was a nuclear scientist, the local satellite Press TV reported on Thursday.

"Shahram Amiri is not a nuclear scientist and we reject it," Qashqavi told reporters at the airport, adding that "he is a researcher at one of the universities in Iran."

The Iranian scholar, himself, said he is just a "simple researcher," without any expertise on nuclear technology, or knowledge or access to Iran's nuclear sites.

"I had nothing to do with Natanz and Fordo sites," he added.

"It was a tool the U.S. government brought up for political pressure," Amiri said of his abduction.

On Thursday, Tehran rejected claims that the United States exchanged the "abducted" Iranian scholar for three American hikers arrested in Iran.

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