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Report: CIA paid Iranian scientist $5 million

Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, wipes sweat during his news briefing while holding his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein as he arrived at the Imam Khomeini airport just outside Tehran, Iran, Thursday, July 15, 2010. Amiri claimed Thursday he suffered extreme mental and physical torture at the hands of U.S. interrogators after disappearing last year, adding to Tehran's allegations he was abducted by American agents. Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared a year ago, wipes sweat during his news briefing while holding his 7-year-old son Amir Hossein as he arrived at the Imam Khomeini airport just outside Tehran, Iran, Thursday, July 15, 2010. Amiri claimed Thursday he suffered extreme mental and physical torture at the hands of U.S. interrogators after disappearing last year, adding to Tehran's allegations he was abducted by American agents. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
July 15, 2010

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WASHINGTON—The CIA paid an Iranian nuclear scientist $5 million to provide intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The scientist, Shahram Amiri, returned to Iran on Wednesday to a hero's welcome after claiming he was abducted by U.S. agents and then offered $50 million to stay in the U.S.

The U.S. says Amiri was a willing defector who changed his mind and asked to go back to Iran.

The Washington Post said that Amiri had been working for the CIA for more than a year. It said he was paid $5 million out of a secret program aimed at inducing scientists and others with information on Iran's nuclear program to defect. But Amiri should be unable to get to that money now that he's returned to Iran, which is under financial sanctions, U.S. officials told the Post.

Amiri says he had no classified information.