Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, surrounded by Iranian officials, flashes the victory sign as he arrives at the Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran .July 15, 2010. (Fars)

September 9, 2019

The father of a controversial Iranian nuclear scientist, who was executed three years ago has passed away, allegedly committing suicide as a result of the pain he was feeling for his son’s fate.

Speaking to Radio Farda on Saturday, September 7, the mother of the executed scientist Shahram Amiri, confirmed that her husband had passed away but insisted that she was unaware of the existence of a suicide note left by her husband.

On September 5, a former BBC Persian broadcaster Fardad Farahzad had published on Twitter the copy of a letter he described as a suicide note written by Amiri’s father.

Radio Farda cannot independently verify if the handwriting is that of Askar Amiri, Shahram’s father.

Amiri was an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared from Iran during 2009–2010 under disputed circumstances and when he returned to the country, he was arrested and finally executed in August 2016.

Before his disappearance Amiri apparently conducted research on particle physics at the Malek-Ashtar University of Technology in Tehran and that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) controlled the institution.

On a disputed date in 2009, Amiri disappeared while apparently on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

About a year after his disappearance, he resurfaced in two controversial videos claiming that he had been kidnapped and tortured by Americans.

However, in the second video Amiri stated that he was in America of his own free will, and was completing his study and research.

In July 2010, Shahram Amiri once again reappeared in Washington, D.C. at the Iran interest section of the Embassy of Pakistan, asking for assistance to return to Tehran.

In highly mysterious circumstances, Amiri finally arrived in Tehran on July 15, 2010, and the spokesman of the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry, Hassan Qashqavi (presently Tehran’s Ambassador to Madrid) officially welcomed him. Pictures of Amiri, widely smiling with a garland around his neck, were circulated by the local news outlets.

Soon, the joyous scene of the reunion of Amiri and his father was also broadcast by the state-owned television.

Moreover, at a press conference in Tehran, Amiri told journalists that he had been kidnapped, tortured and bribed to cooperate with the CIA, but had refused.

Despite the heroic welcome, there were rumors that the intelligence agents affiliated with the IRGC had arrested the 31-year-old nuclear scientist for spying for the United States.

Little information trickled out about what happened to Amiri in between his return to Iran and his execution.

In 2015, his father Askar (Asgar) Amiri told the BBC that intelligence agents held his son at a secret site since his return.

“After twenty months of detention, Shahram Amiri was tried, sentenced to ten years jail, and five years living in exile in a remote city in southeast Iran,” the relatives of the controversial nuclear scientist told the media.

Nevertheless, on August 7, 2016, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic judiciary revealed that Amiri was hanged four days earlier, allegedly for treason and providing U.S. Intelligence with vital information about Iran’s nuclear program.

Amiri’s body was returned to his family with rope marks around his neck.

Shahram Amiri’s execution triggered a political battle in the United States during the 2016 presidential election since he was mentioned in some of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“Emails from Hillary Clinton released by the U.S. State Department in 2015 – part of investigations into her use of a private server for official business – seemed to lend credence to the idea that Amiri defected to the U.S. during his trip to Saudi Arabia,” wrote the Christian Science Monitor.

Republicans maintained that Hillary Clinton’s emails put Amiri at risk, an accusation Donald Trump reiterated on Twitter.

Democrats denied that Clinton’s emails were related to Amiri’s execution, insisting Amiri’s defection was publicly known and the FBI said it had no evidence Clinton’s emails were ever hacked.

However, Fox News said in August 2016 that “un-redacted Clinton server emails released in2015 appeared to refer to Amiri as ‘our friend'” but noted, “it’s unclear whether those references put Amiri at any additional risk.”

According to Fox, senior adviser Jake Sullivan forwarded Clinton an email on July 5, 2010, just ten days before Amiri’s return to Tehran, that says, “We have a diplomatic, ‘psychological’ issue, not a legal one. Our friend has to be given a way out.”

Now, three years later, it appears that Shahram Amiri’s father has passed away almost at the third anniversary of his son’s hanging.

The letter attributed to Askar Amiri and presented as his suicide note does not mention that the bereaved father had decided to take his own life.

In the meantime, the letter allegedly written by Askar Amiri has disclosed for the first time that Shahram Amiri’s father had once set himself on fire at the office of the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to protest the detention of his son.

RFE/RL

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.