Iran News ...


01/12/10

Tehran Blast Kills Iran Nuclear Scientist

Report by RFE/RL; Photos by ISNA

Iranian media say a professor of nuclear physics and "committed" supporter of the country's leadership structure has been killed in a bomb attack in the capital.


 

State TV says Tehran sees signs of Israeli and U.S. involvement in what it called an assassination of a "staunch supporter of the Islamic Revolution," although the professor's name previously appeared on a blog of supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi.

Authorities have accused Musavi supporters and other critics of the June presidential election of seditious activities aimed at casting off the country's clerically dominated system.


The investigation continues, but state broadcasts have already blamed ''the Zionist regime, America
and their hired agents.''

The Iranian state's English-language broadcaster, Press TV, reported that the nuclear expert had just left his house for work when an explosive detonated nearby.

"Reports say Doctor Masud Ali Mohammadi was killed after a motorbike parked near his home exploded," the news anchor reported.

The TV report described Mohammadi as a teacher of "neutron physics" at Tehran University and "a staunch supporter" of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Press TV footage showed a building with shattered windows, said to be Mohammadi's home in northern Tehran's Qeytariyeh neighborhood, and the pavement outside smeared with blood.

ISNA news agency quoted Tehran provincial deputy police chief Safarali Baratlou as confirming that Mohammadi was the only person killed in the blast.

He said the explosion appeared to have been set off by remote control, and that Mohammadi was driving away from his home when the bomb struck.

In the same report, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said Mohammadi was climbing into his car when the explosion went off.

Dolatabadi said Mohammadi was a "lecturer in nuclear energy" and that no suspects had been arrested.

Quoting unnamed sources, another Iranian news agency, Borna, said Mohammadi was a "senior nuclear scientist of the country."

State broadcaster IRIB described Mohammadi as a "committed and revolutionary" professor killed by "antirevolutionary and arrogant powers' elements." It did not name any sources for that claim.

Iran usually refers to perceived Western foes as "the global arrogance."

There's been no claim of responsibility for the blast.

But authorities are already pointing the finger of blame at Iran's Western foes.

Allegation Of U.S., Israeli Involvement

Iranian state broadcaster IRIB quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying there were signs of Israeli and U.S. involvement -- "the Zionist regime, America and their hired agents."

Media reports did not say whether Mohammadi was connected to Iran's nuclear program.

Notwithstanding Tehran's denials, the West suspects Iran's program is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Another Iranian nuclear scientist, Shahram Amiri, disappeared last year while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, raising questions about whether he defected and gave the West information on Iran's nuclear program.

In December, Tehran accused Saudi Arabia of handing Amiri over to the United States.

The incident also comes as Iran faces its worst domestic unrest since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

It was triggered by the disputed presidential election in June, which the opposition says was rigged in favor of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad -- a charge authorities deny.

Radio Farda reports that Mohammadi's name appears on setadnet.mihanblog.com, a blog of supporters at Iranian universities of opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi.

The name is among 420 Tehran University lecturers who signed a letter, posted on the blog two days before the June presidential elections, supporting Musavi's candidature.

Eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters on Ashura, the day of ritual Shi'ite mourning on December 27.


Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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