Pakistan has confirmed that a man claiming to be
Shahram Amiri, a missing Iranian nuclear scientist, has sought refugee in the
Iran interests section of its embassy in Washington.
Tehran has long claimed that Amiri was kidnapped by U.S. intelligence agents.
A Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nadeem Patyala, told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that a man calling himself Amiri had gone to the embassy on the evening of July 12 asking for shelter.
He gave no other details but said the matter was being dealt with by Iranian officials in the interests section, rather than by Pakistan's diplomats.
"He was there yesterday evening, dropped by somebody at 6:30 in the evening," Patyala said. "But this is not a Pakistani Embassy, this is not a Pakistan Embassy. Pakistan has nothing to do with it other than we are working as a bridge for communication purposes with the U.S. side."
Iran has had no embassy in the United States since diplomatic relations were severed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Patyala's remarks confirmed reports first aired on Iranian state television and radio, which said Amiri was seeking immediate repatriation to Iran. The reports represent the latest twist in the mystery over Amiri, whom Tehran claims was abducted last year in Saudi Arabia during a religious pilgrimage.
A recent series of contradictory videos has further complicated the riddle.
In footage released on Iranian television in June, a
man identifying himself as Amiri said he had been taken to the United States and
tortured after being seized in Saudi Arabia.
"My name is Shahram Amiri, today is April 5, 2010. I am in Tucson, in the United States, caught up in an operation between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia," the man in the video says.
"I was kidnapped in Medina, Saudi Arabia, and injected with something. I was unconscious for several days, during which time I was transferred to the U.S. In eight months in the United States, I was subjected to the worst kinds of torture and pressure."
However, a second video posted on the video-sharing website YouTube days later showed a similar-looking man claiming to be Amiri declaring that he was free in the United States.
"I am in America and intend to continue my education in this country," he said. "I am free here and assure everyone I am safe."
In a third video shown on Iranian television on June 29, a man describing himself as Amiri said he was in hiding and escaping from U.S. "agents" in Virginia and urged human rights groups to help him return to Iran.
"I could be re-arrested at any time by U.S. agents.... I am not free and I'm not allowed to contact my family," he said, adding that he had not "betrayed" Iran. "If something happens and I do not return home alive, the U.S. government will be responsible."
U.S. officials dismissed the allegations in the broadcast. In March, ABC News reported that Amiri had defected to the United States and was helping the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
with agency reports
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