Iran: Sunni insurgents kidnap former nuclear site worker

Jundallah group threatens to reveal some of Teheran's nuclear secrets if it does not release 200 "political prisoners" from Iranian jails.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 10, 2010 11:46
1 minute read.
Iranian technicians at Bushehr nuclear power plant

Iran Reactor 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The Sunni Iranian terrorist group Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, late on Saturday claimed in an Internet posting on its website junbish.blogspot.com that it had kidnapped a clerk at Iran's uranium conversion facility in the central city of Isfahan.

Jundallah demanded that Teheran free more than 200 Sunni and Baluchi prisoners and members of the group it says are held in Iranian prisons.

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The group warned that failure to meet its demands within a week would lead to "releasing to the public the information gathered from Mr Amir Hossein Shirani, so the world finds out more about the Iranian regime's secret nuclear activities," according to the statement cited by AFP.

Deputy Interior Minister, Ali Abdollahi, confirmed the kidnap victim, Amir Hossein Shirani, was a former welder and driver at the nuclear facility but said the abduction was for ransom, not political motives. He said Shirani had been fired from Isfahan in 2005 for incompetence.

Abdollahi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency Saturday as saying that Shirani was kidnapped by Jundallah two months ago while he was working as a driver in southeast Iran, where the group is waging insurgency.

Hamid Khadem Qaemi, a spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization denied that Shirani was kidnapped for his knowledge of the Iranian nuclear program.

"He is not employed with Iran's Atomic Energy Organization" any more, Qaemi was cited by AFP as telling an Iranian newspaper on Sunday, adding that the abduction was a "personal matter and not linked to the nuclear issue."

Gholam Reza Ansari, the chief of the Isfahan judiciary, also confirmed that Shirani's kidnapping,  according to the AFP. However, Ansari claimed that the "abduction was related to a financial dispute with a drug cartel in Sistan-Baluchestan."


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