This marked the first time that Iran identified Amiri as a nuclear
scientist. The disappearance of Amiri was reported by Iran in June, Middle East Newsline reported.
In a statement on Dec. 8, Mehmanparast said Amiri has been held in a
prison in the United States. The spokesman said 11 Iranian nationals were
being held by the United States.
"He is among 11 jailed Iranians in America," Mehmanparast said.
Amiri was said to have worked as a researcher at the state-owned Iranian
Atomic Energy Organization. Iran has dismissed reports that Amiri sought
asylum in the West.
In 2007, former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Ali Reza Asqari
disappeared in Turkey. Asqari, reported to have been involved in Iran's
nuclear program, was also believed to have defected to the West.
[In an unrelated development, a training camp of the Iranian-sponsored
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command was rocked by
a series of explosions on late Dec. 8. The PLFP-GC camp is located in the
Bekaa Valley near the border with Syria.]