Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FP morning brief 7/14

Iranian nuclear scientist returns home

Top news: The Iranian nuclear scientist who U.S. officials say defected to the United States last year and provided information on Iran's nuclear program is on his way home after taking refuge in the Iranian interests sections of the Pakistani embassy in Washington on Monday.

Shahram Amiri claimed in an interview that he had been kidnapped from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia and had been held "under enormous psychological pressure and supervision of armed agents in the past 14 months." But according to U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amiri was in the United States “of his own free will” and was free to leave whenever he wanted. She also called for the release of three American hikers who have been held in Iran since July 2009.

U.S intelligence officials say Amiri was too junior to have deep knowledge about Iran's nuclear intentions but was an important confirming source for information the U.S. has already gathered. Iranian officials say he will be met by his family when he returns to Tehran on Thursday but it remains unclear what level of interrogation he will have to go through.

Business: U.S. tobacco giant Phillip Morris has been accused of buying from farms in Kazakhstan that employ child laborers.

Middle East
  • The U.S. has handed over 55 former members of Saddam Hussein's regime -- including spokesman Tariq Aziz -- to Iraqi custody.
  • Gunmen attacked government offices as part of a coordinated assault in Southern Yemen.
  • A Libyan ship carrying aid is continuing to sail toward Gaza despite Israeli efforts to divert it.
  • The U.S. detained and deported a 12th Russian spy connected with the "illegals" ring.
  • Rioting by Irish nationalist youths has continued for a third night in Belfast.
  • The French parliament's lower house passed a bill banning the wearing of Islamic face veils.
  • The body of a senior Rwandan opposition leader was found murdered.
  • Four people were killed in a new round of religious rioting in Nigeria.
  • South Africa hopes to follow its successful hosting of the World Cup with a bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
-By Joshua Keating


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