TEHRAN, July 15 (UPI) -- An Iranian nuclear scientist who claims he was abducted by U.S. authorities says he was tortured and offered a large sum of money to stay in the United States.
Shahram Amiri returned to Iran Thursday and said his abduction while on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia was "psychological warfare" by the United States against Iran.
U.S. officials have said Amiri was a willing visitor and, as his unhindered leaving of the country indicates, was free to return to Iran at any time. The Washington Post reported Amiri was offered $5 million for information on Iran's nuclear program but that money was out of the scientist's reach because of sanctions against Iran.
Amiri alleges he was abducted in late spring 2009 and said Thursday he "was under the harshest mental and physical torture" while being held the United States. He also charged Israeli intelligence operatives were on hand for his interrogations. He said he was offered $10 million to go on U.S. television to say he was in the United States of his own accord and the CIA offered him $50 million to stay in the country.
There are contradictory videos posted on the Internet, apparently by Amiri, about his status in the United States. There were suggestions he was concerned for the welfare of family members in Iran.
Iranian officials contended from the beginning Amiri had been kidnapped.
Amiri played down any nuclear program information he may have had, claiming to be merely a university researcher. However, an unnamed U.S. official told the BBC: "He provided useful information to the United States. The Iranians now have him. In terms of win-loss, it's not even a close call."