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Take a hike

By Michael J. Smith on Friday July 16, 2010 10:26 AM

Love the solar panel.

The Washtub reports that Shahram Amiri, mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, has returned to Iran:

TEHRAN -- An Iranian nuclear scientist at the center of a bizarre espionage drama arrived here to a hero's welcome Thursday morning, including a personal greeting from several senior government officials.

... Amiri's tale has dominated Iranian media since Monday night, when he surfaced in front of Iran's diplomatic mission in Washington and asked for a ticket back to his homeland. Amiri, 32, told officials that he had been abducted by U.S. intelligence operatives and had spent much of the past year in Tucson being questioned about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Amiri's reappearance was as mysterious as his disappearance and came just weeks after a series of Internet videos added to the intrigue surrounding the case. In the videos, Amiri claimed alternately to have been kidnapped by the CIA and to have come to this country on his own accord to pursue a PhD.

... In the first, which aired on Iranian television, Amiri stares into what appears to be an amateur Web camera, claiming to have been tortured and pleading for human rights organizations to intervene.

But in a subsequent and more polished video that U.S. officials said was crafted with help from the CIA, Amiri is dressed in a suit coat before a backdrop that includes a chessboard and a globe turned to the Western Hemisphere.

This CIA video is richly comical. The set appears to have been dressed by Lyndon Larouche:

I dunno, maybe the guy really did defect to the US originally. (Though I doubt it.) If so, they made a mistake sending him to Tucson, which would give anybody second thoughts about life in theseUnited States.

It will be interesting to see whether the Iranian government now decides those hapless young hikers don't need to stick around any longer. After a decent interval of course. Stay tuned.

Comments (11)

CF Oxtrot:

If they're gonna fabricate espionage drama, the least they could do is decide whether it's dry and droll (le Carre), cartoonishly action-filled (Ludlum), or hard-bitten if mildly cliche (Deighton).

The profferred story, however, is complete bullshit that isn't fit for bookbinding or movie stock. Like the "dancing Arabs" in Manhattan on 9/11/2001, this is pure theatre.

If you're going to live in Arizona (OK, *if*) and don't much like Flagstaff winters, Tucson is undoubtedly the city of choice. The Austin of Arizona (without the music) (or the river) (or the rain).

I do love that CIA set.


Well, I watched the clip linked above and was able to guess that the Farsi word for "I" or "me" or both was "man".
The comical part was over my head. Is the house linguist going to post a translation?


I dunno any Farsi. The comedy for me was purely visual. And of course the guy's droning scripted voice, which comes across pretty well even if you *don't* know Frasi.

I do love that CIA set.
Especially the chessboard, eh? Considering that chess is a Persian gift -- or plague -- to the world. "Checkmate" is even a corruption, or so I'm told, of the Farsi "shah mat" -- "the King is banjaxed."

And that exhausts my Farsi.


Comedy aside, this link is to the guy's own Youtube channel. So, is he "verifying" the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program or is he denouncing the CIA for having "kidnapped" him. Doesn't it make a difference? Anyone?

Comedy aside, this link is to the guy's own Youtube channel.

Not necessarily. The link goes to a Youtube channel with the guy's name on it that was created the same day the video was uploaded. Since there are no further video uploads, and the account's owner hasn't signed into Youtube since, it can be inferred that the account was created in order to post the video. If the video was staged, and certainly looks that way, then the account could have been merely created in his name to host a pre-existing video. Youtube doesn't verify the accuracy of the chosen account name before it is created.


Thanks for the clarification, Null. My use of YT is limited listening to the apparently pirated classical music recordings uploaded in their tens of thousands by persons with no evident fear of RIAA, God bless 'em.

Does anyone have any notion what Amiri was saying or to whom it was addressed? Or doesn't it matter?


There's a surprising amount of Farsi (if we include Old Persian, which I suppose we must for checkmate) floating around. Mostly obscure, but: borax! Hoodathunkit?


Huh. Meant to sign that borax thing.


speaking of borax
what about borat


borat always struck me as not
possibly from kazakhstan

maybe he's a persian agent
posing as a cockney jew
playing a boetian bore
that is only claiming to be from
..."ahh ...from ....ahhh..kazakhstan "
but is actually from


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