(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Shahram Amiri, the Iranian nuclear scientist who returned to Tehran in July after what he called a "kidnapping" by the CIA, has been held in detention by Iranian authorities for two months and tortured so badly he was hospitalized, according to a dissident Iranian Web site.
An article on Iranbriefing.net claims that an unnamed family source says Amiri was held in a safe house after his much-publicized return to the country. He was allowed to have supervised visits with family members before being moved to a prison in Tehran in October for interrogation.
Amiri, a professor at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, defected to the U.S. in 2009 after funneling Iranian nuclear secrets for the CIA for several years while still inside the Iranian nuclear program, American officials told ABC News.
Amiri was a key source for the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded the Iranian nuclear weaponization program had been halted after 2003, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official. The CIA began pushing Amiri to flee after publication of the NIE, said the official, because the agency feared the Iranian government would discover Amiri's role in providing the information. Amiri disappeared while on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June 2009, and then resurfaced in the U.S., first at an apartment in Tucson, Arizona and then at an apartment in Springfield, Virginia.
After more than a year in the U.S., Amiri claimed he had never really defected. In a series of videos released on the Internet in early 2010, he insisted he had been kidnapped, drugged and tortured by the CIA. He claimed he was trying to elude U.S. agents so he could be reunited with his wife and son in Iran.
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