(AFP) – Dec 9, 2009
RIYADH — Saudi Arabia said it "deplored" Tehran's charge that an Iranian nuclear scientist was kidnapped on a pilgrimage to Mecca and hauled off to the United States, a Saudi newspaper reported Wednesday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali told Asharq Alawsat that he was "stunned by the declarations and allegations" from Tehran, which he "deplored."
Nugali said that nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri's disappearance had sparked an extensive investigation by the Saudi government.
"After having been informed of his disappearance by the Iranian delegation (in Mecca), Saudi authorities undertook an intensive search in Medina as well as in all the hospitals in the region of Mecca," Nugali told the newspaper.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday accused the United States of abducting nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who went missing while on an umrah minor pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.
"Based on existing pieces of evidence that we have at our disposal the Americans had a role in Mr. Amiri's abduction," Mottaki said at a press conference in Farsi which was translated into English by Press TV channel.
"The Americans did abduct him. Therefore we expect the American government to return him."
Mottaki said Amiri had travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform the minor Muslim pilgrimage when he disappeared.
"He disappeared in Saudi Arabia and naturally we ask the Saudi government to look into the case.... Saudi Arabia must be held accountable in this regard."
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