Washington, July 16 (ANI): The Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri who says he was abducted a year ago by United States agents was an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inside Iran for several years, providing information about the country's nuclear program, according to the U.S. officials.
According to the New York Times, officials have said that the scientist described to U.S. intelligence officers details of how a university in Tehran became the covert headquarters for Iran's nuclear efforts.
"While still in Iran, he was also one of the sources for a much-disputed National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's suspected weapons program, published in 2007," the officials said.
An official claimed that for several years, Amiri provided "significant, original" information about secret aspects of his country's nuclear program, according to the Americans.
Officials further said that Amiri had been given 5 million dollars for providing essential information. But the money would have been paid over an extended period and Amiri was not able to take it with him because American sanctions prohibited financial transfers to Iran.
Amiri, who claims that the CIA kidnapped him, returned to Tehran to a triumphant welcome on Thursday and repeated his allegation that he had been grabbed in Saudi Arabia by the C.I.A. and Saudi intelligence, and tortured.
"I don't think that any Iranian in my place would have sold his dignity to another country for a financial reward," he said.
However, American officials have said that his accusations that he had been kidnapped and drugged were manufactured, and an effort to survive what will almost certainly be a grilling by the Iranian authorities.
"His safety depends on him sticking to that fairy tale about pressure and torture, his challenge is to try to convince the Iranian security forces that he never cooperated with the United States," the paper quoted an American official, as saying.
Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki gave the first official hints of Iranian doubts about his story.
"We first have to see what has happened in these two years and then we will determine if he's a hero or not, Iran must determine if his claims about being kidnapped were correct or not," Mottaki said.
Amiri, a specialist in measuring radioactive materials, worked at the Malek Ashtar University, which some American officials think is used as an academic cover for the organization responsible for designing weapons and warheads that could fit atop an Iranian missile. (ANI)