Sen. Cotton: Scientist Executed in Iran Was Mentioned in Emails on Clinton's Private Server

Susan Jones | August 8, 2016 | 7:41am EDT
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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) (AP File Photo)

( - Iran on Sunday executed a nuclear scientist convicted of spying for the United States.

The Associated Press quoted Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi as saying that Shahram Amiri "had access to the country's secret and classified information" and "had been linked to our hostile and No. 1 enemy, America, the Great Satan."

Amiri's execution was mentioned Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," as host John Dickerson interviewed Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a strong opponent of the Iran nuclear deal:

"Iran announced today that they executed a scientist who they believe helped the United States reveal news about its nuclear program," Dickerson told Cotton.

"You mentioned the Iranian scientist that was recently executed," Cotton said. "Of course, I'm not going to comment on what he may or may not have done for the United States government.

"But in the e-mails that were on Hillary Clinton's private server, there were conversations among her senior advisers about this gentleman. That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information a private server. I think her judgment is not suited to keep this country safe."

"That's on her judgment," Dickerson replied, as he turned he conversation back to Donald Trump.

According to the Associated Press, Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri defected to the U.S. at the height of Western efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program.

In June 2010, in a shaky online video, Amiri said he had been kidnapped by American and Saudi agents and was in Tucson, Arizona.

A short time later, he appeared in another online video, saying he wanted to earn a doctorate in America and return to Iran if an "opportunity of safe travel" presented itself. His wife and son remained behind in Iran. "I have not done any activity against my homeland," he said in that video.

In July 2010, Amiri walked into the Iranian-interests section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington and demanded to be sent home.

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Amiri's case indirectly found its way back into the spotlight in the U.S. last year with the release of State Department emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton on her private server.

An email forwarded to Clinton by senior adviser Jake Sullivan on July 5, 2010 — just 10 days before Amiri returned to Tehran — appears to reference the scientist:

The email, written by Richard Morningstar and sent to Sullivan, reads: "Per the subject we discussed, we have a diplomatic, 'psychological' issue, not a legal issue. Our friend has to be given a way out. We should recognize his concerns and frame it in terms of a misunderstanding with no malevolent intent and  that we will make sure there is no recurrence. Our person won't be able to do anything anyway. If he has to leave so be it."

Another email, sent to Hillary Clinton by Sullivan on July 12, 2010, apparently refers to the scientist just hours before he appeared at the Pakistani Embassy:

"The gentleman you have talked to Bill Burns about has apparently gone to his country's interests section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure. This could lead to problematic news stories in the next 24 hours. Will keep you posted."

(The Associated Press contributed the information about Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri.)

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