From NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Courtney Kube and Sarah Blackwill
At a joint news conference with Iraq's Foreign Minister, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that an Iranian nuclear scientist who surfaced in Washington last night after vanishing more than a year ago, has been in the U.S. of his own free will and is free to go. She said he was scheduled to go to Iran yesterday but was unable to make all of the necessary arrangements through transit countries. (She did not respond directly to the question, which was whether the U.S. botched the case.)
"He is free to go, he was free to come, these decisions are his alone to make," Clinton told reporters.
Nuclear scientists Shahram Amiri disappeared more than a year ago after embarking on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, and Iran has repeatedly accused the CIA of abducting him. Last night, Amiri turned up in Washington at the Iranian interests section of the Pakistani embassy.
In contrast to Amiri - who she said is free to go - Clinton said Iran continues to hold three Americans (the hikers) and Iran has given the U.S. no information about the welfare and whereabouts of Robert Levinson (the former FBI agent) who has bee missing in Iran since 2007.
"We continue to request Iranian cooperation in resolving this matter and in ensuring his safe return to the United States," Clinton said of Levinson.
Earlier today, State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley denied Amiri's claims that he has been mistreated during his time in the U.S.
"I have no information to suggest that he has been mistreated while he's been in the United States," Crowley said of claims by the scientist, who has posted videos on the internet, claiming he is being held in the U.S. and that he was tortured.
Crowley would not say how long Amiri has been in the U.S., but he did acknowledge that he informed the U.S. that he wanted to go back to Iran before beginning the trip.
Crowley would not confirm reports that Amiri was dropped off at the Iranian interests section of the Pakistani Embassy there by a private car.