Iran Nuclear Scientist Shahram Amiri Heads Home amid Propaganda War

By Peterson, Scott | The Christian Science Monitor, July 14, 2010 | Go to article overview

Iran Nuclear Scientist Shahram Amiri Heads Home amid Propaganda War


Peterson, Scott, The Christian Science Monitor


The saga of Iran nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who reportedly defected to the US last year, is a special case in the 31-year propaganda war between the US and Iran.

Iran nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri is reportedly headed back home after declaring that he had been kidnapped by American agents in Saudi Arabia and brought to the US against his will.

Just months before, US officials had called Mr. Amiri's arrival in the US a defection and hailed it as an "intelligence coup" for the CIA. More recently, according to ABC news, officials said Amiri had supplied nuclear secrets for years and had "provided evidence that Iran continued a program to produce nuclear weapons."

Even by the high standards of a 31-year propaganda war between the US and Iran, the Amiri saga is a special case.

Iran's state-run media claimed Amiri's return as a victory for the country, while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was nonchalant on Tuesday, saying Amiri had "been in the United States of his own free will and he is free to go."

"On the propaganda score, I would give a marginal victory to Iran at the moment," says Ali Ansari, director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland. "There are more questions to be answered by the Americans, I think. But it's not an [Iranian] triumph."

"The more [the Iranians] talk about it, the more propaganda they make about it, the more I think they're trying to ... disguise something that went wrong," adds Dr. Ansari, who says everyone is telling "half-truths."

'Baffling' case leaves many questions unanswered

Analysts say there are more questions than answers in a "baffling" case, which makes it easy for both sides to claim propaganda victory.

Senior Iranian officials have presented to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran - which handles American interests in Iran - what they described as "evidence" that Amiri was victim of a US and Saudi kidnap operation during the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June last year.

The US denies the charge, and until this week did not acknowledge Amiri's presence in the country. Officials have so far presented nothing - such as a visa application, or a copy of a plane ticket - to indicate that Amiri arrived in America through normal channels. Student visas for Iranians require university acceptance, proof of sufficient funds, and are typically a long and involved process.

Likewise, Iran has downplayed the 33-year-old's nuclear credentials, claiming for months that he was never an employee of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, and regularly referring to Amiri on official broadcasts simply as an "abducted academic."

But an Iranian news site reported that Amiri had worked at Iran's Qom nuclear site, the existence of which was declared by Iran in September - several months after Amiri disappeared - when it became aware that the US and Western intelligence agencies knew of it.

Amiri's contradictory YouTube videos

The competing narratives have been fueled by Amiri's own set of contradictory YouTube videos.

In one aired on June 29, which ABC reported he was compelled to make after his wife and son back in Iran were threatened, he accuses the US of kidnapping him. He speaks of his "escape" from American intelligence handlers in Virginia and his wish to return to Iran.

"I could be arrested at any time by US agents.... I am not free and I'm not allowed to contact my family. If something happens and I do not return home alive, the US government will be responsible," says Amiri, his eyes darting repeatedly to the top of the screen. "I ask Iranian officials and organizations that defend human rights to raise pressure on the US government for my release and return to my country."

In a later one, which ABC says was made by the CIA, Amiri - flanked by a globe and chess set - spoke of his desire to stay in America and pursue his studies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Iran Nuclear Scientist Shahram Amiri Heads Home amid Propaganda War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.