Scientist Shahram Amiri vanished during a pilgrimage to the Saudi kingdom in late May, Iranian authorities have said. Relatives quoted in Iranian media have said Amiri researches medical uses of nuclear technology at a Tehran university.
His disapperance came months before the revelation of a second uranium enrichment facility that Iran has been building near the city of Qom, raising speculation that Amiri may have given the West information on it or other parts of the nuclear program. Relatives said Amiri was not involved in the broader nuclear program beyond his research.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Wednesday that "we have evidence of a U.S. role in disapearance of the Iranian national ... in Saudi Arabia. ... There is evidence to suggest the United States was involved," according to Press TV, the state-run English-language channel.
Iran has asked Saudi Arabia for information on Amiri's whereabouts but has received no reply, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said earlier this week. "Amiri's fate is Saudi Arabia's responsibility," he said.
The Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, which is owned by Saudi businessmen, reported last week that Mottaki made a formal complaint to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon about the disappearances of Amiri and three other Iranians in recent years, some of whom it feared may have provided nuclear information to the West. Qashqavi this week denied the complaint made any mention of the nuclear issue.
Last month, Iran revealed that it was building the new enrichment facility outside Qom, bringing U.S. and European accusations that it had been hiding the project. Tehran denied it sought to deceive the U.N. nuclear watchdog, saying it revealed the site earlier than required under its deals with the agency.