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Wife Of Missing Iranian Scientist Calls For International Help To Bring Him Home

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

WATCH: A clip of the report aired on Iran's state television about the Amiri case

Iran's state television has aired a report that includes an interview with a woman who is introduced as the wife of an Iranian nuclear scientist who Iran says has been kidnapped by the United States.

In the report, a woman identified as Azar Amiri says a video that was recently posted on YouTube of her husband appears to have been staged. In the video, a man who identifies himself as Shahram Amiri denies he has been kidnapped and says he is simply studying in the United States.

Azar Amiri says the way her husband speaks demonstrates that he was reading from a prepared text.

"How can a man leave his child, who was about to start elementary school, and say easily, 'I'm studying and I will return when I'm done'? It's very unusual," she says.

She called on international human rights organizations to help her husband return home to his family. 

Earlier this month, two conflicting videos were released that appeared to show Shahram Amiri, who went missing about a year ago during a trip to Saudi Arabia.  

The first video, aired by Iran's state television, showed a man identified as Amiri saying he'd been kidnapped by U.S. intelligence forces with the help of Saudi Arabia. He says he is being held against his will in Arizona.

In the second video, posted on YouTube a short time later, a man also identified as Amiri says he's free and is obtaining his Ph.D. in health physics in the United States. 

The U.S. television network ABC reported in March that Amiri had defected to the United States and was assisting the CIA in efforts to undermine Iran's nuclear activities. But Tehran has long maintained that Amiri was kidnapped by the United States.

Washington denies the charge.

"Have we kidnapped an Iranian scientist? The answer is no," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on June 8. 

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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