Iranian professor Dariush Farhud says he believes his brief kidnapping late last month was not the work of any security or intelligence agency.
Unknown armed men abducted Farhud in front of his house in Tehran on the morning of October 30, and dropped him at the same place 36 hours later, the 84-year-old scientist told Etemaad newspaper on November 3
He said the kidnappers, who were in plainclothes, criticized him for not being "completely obedient" to the decisions of the state and for insulting top officials.
"I believe that my abduction was not the work of any government agency, including the IRGC (eds: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps),” Farhud said, adding: “Maybe one or two people from some institutions did this” on their own initiative.
"Let's assume I was taken for extortion. My objections and criticisms are not political in any way, but rather social, cultural and medical.”
He said he was not brutalized by the kidnappers. “They even told me to be comfortable, change my clothes and rest," Farhud said.
However, he described his abduction, during which he “neither slept nor ate,” as “mental suffering.”
“How did their opinion change? I don't know. They dropped me at my car after 36 hours."
Farhud is known as the "father of Iranian genetic science."
The genetics clinic staff headed by the scientist reported he was missing after he voiced support for the wave of anti-government protests that has rocked the country for six weeks.
He has also criticized the Iranian leadership’s population planning policies.
Several Iranian professors have been interrogated after openly supporting the anti-government protests.
Davood Sori, a professor of economics at Tehran University, was arrested on November 2, and transferred him to the notorious Evin prison, according to media reports.
Young men and women, including university students, have been at the forefront of the nationwide protest movement sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police.
Despite a brutal crackdown in universities and other higher education institutions, students have continued to defy orders to return to class and staged rallies on several campuses across the country.
The heavy-handed crackdown unleashed by security forces on the nationwide unrest has killed at least 277 people, including dozens of children, according to Iran Human Rights. Several thousand people have been arrested.