Iran. There are reports of an Iranian nuclear scientist gone missing - with fingers being pointed at the United States. Last week, it was reported that Shahram Amiri, a researcher at a university with connections to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the country's nuclear program, vanished a few months ago after traveling to Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage. The incident was made public by Iran, with its Foreign Minister leveling claims about "U.S. involvement" in his disappearance. Adding to the intrigue, several unconfirmed reports associate the man with the recently revealed Iranian nuclear facility at Qom. (Washington Post: "Iran Blames U.S. in Disappearance of Scientist").
If Amiri had eyes inside of Qom, this could be a coup. If Saudi Arabia assisted us in removing Amiri, it's evidence that Riyadh is indeed very concerned about a potential Shia bomb. And if this individual defected, it is bound to have a nerve-racking effect on the keepers of Iran's nuclear program. Regardless, vacation time at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization just got tougher to book.
Remember A.Q. Khan? I've sat through hearings examining this Pakistani nuclear proliferator par excellence, who greatly damaged global security. Khan started as a young scientist and engineer working at a European nuclear facility, where security was very lax. He stole secrets, beginning his notorious career. Checking the spread of scientific and technical knowledge is difficult. Yet it's essential. In the case of Mr. Amiri, I hope he has been checked for good.
Cross-posted from Rep. Royce's Foreign Intrigue Blog