Iranian scholar Shahram Amiri, who was freed 14 months after being kidnapped by US and Saudi agents, says he turned down a 50 million dollar bribe offer by the US for cooperation.
Speaking in a press conference upon his arrival in Tehran on Thursday, Amiri said the US was pursuing a “psychological propaganda” campaign against the Islamic Republic through his abduction.
He went on to explain that US officials were making concerted efforts to bribe him to advance their political agenda against the Iranian government from the very first days of his kidnapping.
“They [US security agents] told me they would give me 50 million dollars and provide me and my family with proper living conditions in a European country if I reversed my decision to return to Iran,” Amiri said in the press conference.
He also pointed to a US offer for an interview with CNN and said that, “Since the early days of my abduction, the Americans were willing to pay me 10 million dollars in exchange for my participation in a 10-minute interview with CNN.”
The Iranian academic went on to criticize US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for claiming that he had come to the US willingly and was free to leave.
“I am surprised that a top diplomat of a country which is an advocate of human rights made claims about my freedom while I was kidnapped,” Amiri said.
Clinton said on Tuesday that Amiri “lived freely” in the US, adding that he was “free to go” back to his home country.
The Iranian academic also dismissed reports that he made his decision to return to Iran after his family came under pressure by the Islamic Republic.
“It is not true at all. After my abduction, Iranian officials supported my family,” he explained.
In collaboration with Saudi forces, US security forces kidnapped Amiri while he was on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in June 2009. He was later taken to the United States.
On July 13, the Iranian scientist took refuge in Iran’s interest section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington and later on Wednesday left the United States for the Iranian capital, Tehran.