An award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist, who disappeared last year under mysterious circumstances, has defected to the CIA and been resettled in the United States, according to people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials.
Award-winning nuclear physicist helped CIA spy on Iran’s nuclear program.The officials were said to have termed the defection of the scientist, Shahram Amiri, “an intelligence coup” in the continuing CIA operation to spy on and undermine Iran’s nuclear program.
A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment. In its declassified annual report to Congress, the CIA said, “Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons.”
Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early 30s, went missing last June three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, according to the Iranian government. He worked at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, which is closely connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, according to the Associated Press.
“The significance of the coup will depend on how much the scientist knew in the compartmentalized Iranian nuclear program,” said former White House counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant. “Just taking one scientist out of the program will not really disrupt it.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and other Iranian officials last year blamed the U.S. for “kidnapping” Amiri, but his whereabouts had remained a mystery until now.
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Although this is surely a nice bit of U.S. espionage, it’s highly unlikely that the defection of this one Iranian scientist yielded enough information for us to fully pinpoint the extent of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In fact, it’s been so long without any meaningful punitive sanctions or military action, that Iran has had more than enough time to surreptitiously disperse their nuclear research facilities to the point where any attempted military action against them would almost certainly be an exercise in futility. Iran has also had enough uninterrupted time to perfect the nuclear fuel cycle and weaponization processes. In other words, at this point, it’s highly probable that Iran’s nuclear weapons program is now unstoppable and the Iranians will eventually field a deliverable nuclear device. We’re now totally screwed by our own decades of handwringing and inaction.
/I can only pray to God that we don’t give up on our missile defense technology too, it might be our last trump card left
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Ashtar University, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Classified, Congress, Defection, Hajj Pilgrimage, Intelligence Coup, Intelligence Officials, Iran Foreign Minister, Iranian Nuclear Program, Manouchehr Mottaki, Nuclear Physicist, Nuclear Scientist, Nuclear Weapons, Resettled, Revolutionary Guard, Richard Clarke, Saudi Arabia, Shahram Amiri, Tehran, United States | Leave a comment »