Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Shahram Amiri - شهرام أميري

Recently I blogged about the tit-for-tat kidnappings between Iran and the United States. One person I mentioned in particular was that of the Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri and that he might be part of a prisoner exchange for the three American's captured when they strayed over the Iranian border. In a video released by Iranian TV, footage shows Mr Amiri saying he is being held against his will in Arizona, this release was followed quickly by another clip, on Youtube this time, and anonymously posted, which shows Mr Amiri saying he defected of his own free will.
The BBC seems to cast doubt on the validity of the grainy footage where Amiri claims he is being held against his will in Arizona. They do, however, recognise that his clearer video released on Youtube appears to be scripted and from a poorly written script at that.

I remember when US pilots who were shot down over Baghdad in 1990 they would be "interviewed" on TV and asked how they were being treated. One of them in a later interview, after he had been released, said that he kept giving signals that this was not normal by looking down or sideways, as if he was being forced to say this. Well Amiri appears to be using the same technique in the clearer Youtube video, the one where he claims to have "defected" of his own free will. Which one is telling the truth is unclear, but the burden of proof is still on the United States to provide compelling evidence that what they say is true, and that they haven't just kidnapped him as they might have done to Colonel Shirazi in Istanbul.

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