World News Brief, Wednesday July 14

Iranian nuclear scientist takes refuge in embassy – was he kidnapped or not?; BP successfully caps oil well; Kampala bombing signals the spread of Al Qaeda tactics; Chinese employers having to compete for workers; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iranian Scientist Flees to Pakistan Embassy

An Iranian nuclear scientist (NYT) who Iran claims was kidnapped by the CIA has taken refuge in the Iranian section of Pakistan's Embassy in Washington. The scientist, Shahram Amiri, 32, disappeared during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June 2009. He had worked at Iran's Malek Ashtar University, which is linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The US government has never acknowledged Amiri's existence, or admitted to a role in his disappearance. In June 2010, Iran publicized an alleged videotaped statement from Amiri to prove its claim about his disappearance. If true, it's unclear how Amiri escaped his captors to reach the Pakistani Embassy. Other videos of Amiri were released that conflicted with Iran's claim.

A spokesman from Pakistan's Foreign Office said Amiri was seeking immediate repatriation to Iran (BBC). US authorities cannot enter Iran's diplomatic premises but could prevent Amiri from leaving. His sudden appearance is a major embarrassment for US spy agencies and could lead to a diplomatic stand-off.


Administration officials say that if Amiri had been imprisoned (WashPost) by the United States as claimed, he would not have been able to produce any videos.

The latest round of UN and US sanctions on Iran are unlikely to push Iran to negotiations, says expert Meghan O'Sullivan, which means the United States and its allies will need to look at options including military force.

In the Washington Times, Arnaud de Borchgrave says more politicians and military commanders are conceding the inevitability of US strikes on Iran.


This Backgrounder examines Iran's nuclear program.


PACIFIC RIM: Chinese Employers Competing for Labor

Employers in China are being forced to compete (NYT) for new workers and prevent experienced ones from leaving. Demographers predict the supply of young Chinese workers has peaked under stringent family-planning policies and will drop by one-third in the next twelve years.

North Korea: North Korea postponed talks (AFP) scheduled for Tuesday with the US-led UN Command about the sinking of a South Korean warship "for administrative reasons."



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- Al-Shabaab Signals al-Qaeda Ambitions
- BP Says New Well Cap Successful