News from



Former Nuclear Scientist Executed 

Aug, 6, 2016 (FDI) - Five years into a ten year jail sentence for espionage, former nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri was executed on Saturday by hanging and his body returned to his family.


Amiri “disappeared” while making the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in 2009. The Iranian regime accused the United States of kidnapping him because he was engaged in sensitive nuclear research. Later, Mr. Amiri surfaced in the United States, and published reports said the U.S. government paid him $5 million for providing information on Iran’s nuclear program.

 Shahram amiri

In July 2010, Mr. Amiri had remorse, after several emotional phone calls with his five-year old son, who he had left behind in Iran. He traveled from Arizona to the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, DC, asking to be taking back to Iran.


Those events led to crudely-coded email exchanges between Jake Sullivan and his boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that were released in July 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act.


“The gentleman you have talked to Bill Burns about has apparently gone to his country’s Interests Section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure,” Sullivan wrote in an email to Mrs. Clinton private email server on July 12, 2010. “This could lead to problematic news stories in the next 24 hours. Will keep you posted.”


This is the type of email exchange, containing classified information, that Mrs. Clinton’s aides never should have communicated over an unclassified system, giving rise to the charge by FBI Director Comey that Mrs. Clinton had been “reckless” in her handling of classified material.


So reckless, in fact, that now someone clearly referred to in her emails is dead, executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.


“Something dramatic happened that caused the regime to execute Shahram Amiri on Saturday, half-way through his ten-year sentence for espionage,” said Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian human rights activist who has been nominated to become the next United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran.


Did the release of the Hillary Clinton emails provide the Iranian regime with some proof it had previously lacked that Shahram Amiri was a U.S. spy? If so, it shows once again the reckless disregard of Mrs. Clinton and her aides for protecting U.S. national security - and indeed, the lives of individuals who had a secret relationship to the U.S. government.

For more background on Amiri's initial defection to the United States, see our July 20, 2010 blogpost.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. Contact him by email.