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Iran executes nuclear scientist for spying for U.S.

Shahram Amiri, a researcher at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, had disappeared during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2009 and later resurfaced in the U.S. He returned to Iran in 2010 and had been detained since then.

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    In this file photo taken on Thursday, July 15, 2010, Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist attends a news briefing while holding his son Amir Hossein as he arrives at the Imam Khomeini airport just outside Tehran, Iran, after returning from the United States. Mr. Amiri, who was caught up in a real-life U.S. spy mystery and later returned to his homeland and disappeared, has reportedly been executed under similarly mysterious circumstances. Amiri was reportedly hanged this week and family members held a memorial service for him in the Iranian city of in Kermanshah, 500 kilometers (310 miles) southwest of Tehran. State media in Iran, which has been silent about Amiri’s case for years, has not reported his death.
    Vahid Salemi/AP/File
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Iran has executed an Iranian nuclear scientist detained in 2010 when he returned home from the United States, after a court convicted him of spying for Washington, a spokesman for the judiciary said on Sunday.

"Through his connection with the United States, [Shahram] Amiri gave vital information about the country to the enemy," Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told a weekly news conference, state news agency IRNA reported.

Mohseni Ejei said a court had sentenced Mr. Amiri to death and the sentence had been upheld by Iran's Supreme court, IRNA said.

Amiri, a university researcher working for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, disappeared during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2009, and later surfaced in the United States. But he returned to Iran in 2010 and received a hero's welcome before being arrested.

A U.S. official said in 2010 that Washington had received "useful information" from Amiri.

Iran had accused the CIA of kidnapping Amiri. U.S. officials said Amiri had been free to come and go as he pleased, and that he may have returned because of pressures on his family in Iran.

Amiri had denied this, saying "my family had no problems." In a video aired by Iranian state TV in 2010, Amiri said he had fled from U.S. agents.

Iran, the United States and five other world powers reached a landmark deal last year, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in such a way as to ensure it cannot develop nuclear weapons in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet and Alexandra Hudson)

 
 
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