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Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientist

[Image: laura-frayer] Lauren Frayer Contributor
AOL News
(Nov. 29) -- Identical bombings blamed on mysterious assailants on motorcycles killed an Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded his colleague during their morning commutes today through Tehran traffic.

State media described sophisticated plots by killers on motorbikes, who swiftly attached bombs to the scientists' cars as they whizzed past. One report said the bombers used magnets to stick explosives to the cars' windshields, The Daily Telegraph reported.

At a news conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "Undoubtedly, the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved in the assassination," according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. State Department denied the accusation. Israel does not comment on such matters, an Israeli government spokesman told the AP.

Majid Shahriari, a professor at the capital's Shahid Beheshti University, died instantly, and his colleague Fereidoun Abbasi, a nuclear laser expert, was injured in a separate attack across town. Both their wives, who were riding with them, were also wounded.

Both scientists are believed to be senior figures in the school's nuclear engineering program. It's unclear whether they were also directly involved in Tehran's disputed nuclear activities, for which the United Nations has slapped Iran with four rounds of sanctions.

Abbasi's name was mentioned in a March 2007 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for Iran's nuclear disarmament, state-run Press TV noted, suggesting that "perpetrators behind the assassination could be traced through those who included the professor's name in the U.N. resolution" -- namely, Israel and the United States. State TV also blamed the attack on "agents of the Zionist regime," Bloomberg reported.

Ironically, both scientists were associated with a non-nuclear research unit based in Jordan that also includes researchers from Israel, The New York Times reported. It's unclear whether they could have been targeted for their links to the group, called SESAME -- for Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East.

In Tehran, Shahriari is believed to have been involved in research to analyze neutrons that could eventually be used to develop a new generation of nuclear reactors for peaceful or military purposes. The head of Iran's atomic energy organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, confirmed to the Telegraph that Shahriari was involved in a "major project," but would not elaborate further.

Today's killings prompted harsh words from Salehi, who described Shahriari as a former student.

"Do not play with fire," Salehi told the state news agency, IRNA, according to the Los Angeles Times. "There is a limit to the Iranian nation's patience, and if we run out of patience, the enemy will suffer adverse consequences. Of course, we still maintain our patience."

At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years, in attacks Iran has blamed on the West's alleged efforts to undermine the country's nuclear program.

Today's bombings also come amid word that Tehran's Arab neighbors in the Middle East harbor fears about Iran's nuclear activities. Saudi Arabia has privately voiced concerns and even encouraged an attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, according to a trove of U.S. diplomatic cables published online by WikiLeaks.
Killers planted bombs on two victims' cars, killing one and wounding another, local press reports.

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies Tags: Israel news Iran
  • Published 10:15 29.11.10
An Iranian nuclear scientists was killed and another wounded in separate but identical bomb attacks in Tehran on Monday, according to local press reports.
The Fars television service said bombs were attached to both victims' cars by assassins on motorcycles, accused agents of the United States and Israel of being behind the killings.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najar also accused the US and Israeli intelligence
services of carrying out the assassinations.
"The CIA and Mossad have always been the enemies of Iran and constantly tried to sabotage our technological progress," he told state television.
But the minister did not present any evidence to back up the accusations.

State broadcaster ISNA further named the two victims as Majid Shahriari and Fereydoun Abbasi, both professors at Tehran's Shahid Beheshti university.
Shahriari was killed, while Abbasi and his wife were injured and hospitalized, ISNA said.

Iran's atomic chief, Ali-Akbar Salehi, told the IRNA news agency that Shahriari was a nuclear scientist and a student of his.
"I promise that we will deliver more Shahriaris to the Iranian nation, and such plots will just accelerate the speed of Iran's nuclear programmes," Salehi told Abbasi.
A pro-government website,, said Abbasi held a PhD in nuclear physics and was a laser expert at Iran's Defense Ministry and one of few top Iranian specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
The site said Abbasi has long been a member of the Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force. It said he was also a lecturer at Imam Hossein University, affiliated to the Guard.

In January, another Iranian nuclear scientist, Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was also killed.
State media said at the time that Ali-Mohammadi was killed by a remote controlled bomb strapped to a motorcycle.
Then too, Iran accused Israel and the West of the attack on a "committed and revolutionary" scientist.

But an opposition website, Jaras, said Ali Mohhamadi was an opposition supporter who backed moderate candidate Mirhossein Mousavi in a disputed election, which plunged Iran into turmoil in mid-2009.
In February 2009, the Daily Telegraph, a British, newspaper, reported that Israel was assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists as part of a covert war against the Islamic Republic's illicit weapons program.
The Telegraph quoted Western intelligence analysts as saying that Israel's Mossad spy agency was behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran's Isfahan uranium plant who died mysteriously from"gas poisoning" in 2007.

Israel and the West accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons, a charge the Iranians deny.
Gee, I'm surprised that the US and Isreal didn't say they thought these were suicides!
If not US or Israel... of course there are other alternatives (from PRESSTV):

Iran says it does not rule out a possible connection between recent terrorist attacks in the country and the interfering comments made by the UK spy chief last month.

Quote:Foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters it is an undeniable fact unfortunately that certain western countries are supporting anti-Iran terrorist groups and facilitating their sabotage activities.

He was referring to recent threatening remarks made by head of Britain's foreign intelligence agency, MI6, John Sawers.
On October 28, the chief British spy had said that “diplomacy alone would not be enough to disrupt Iran's nuclear program”.

“Stopping nuclear proliferation cannot be addressed purely by conventional diplomacy. We need intelligence-led operations to make it more difficult for countries such as Iran to develop nuclear technology”, Sawers said.
From an unrelated cable originating in the Tel Aviv embassy:
(from )

(The whole cable is worth reading, but not necessary related to iranian scientists).

Crime War Hits the Streets of Israel

2. (SBU) In November 2008, Israeli crime boss Yaakov Alperon was
assassinated in broad daylight in a gruesome attack on the streets
of Tel Aviv, only about a mile away from the Embassy. According to
several media accounts, a motor scooter pulled up alongside
Alperon's car and the rider attached a sophisticated explosive
device with a remote detonator to the car door. The bomb killed
Alperon and his driver, and injured two innocent pedestrians. The
hit was the latest in a series of violent attacks and reprisals, and
indicated a widening crime war in Israel.
I had to smile a little at the cable writer when they said:

Quote:"Post is currently utilizing all available tools to deny Israeli OC figures access to the United States in order to prevent them from furthering their criminal activities on U.S. soil."

The name Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel and numerous other members of the "Kosher Nostra" leap to mind.

I think the US Embassy in Tel Aviv is late by, oh, 90 years or so.

Not bad for a diplomat I suppose.
Iran's Spy Chief Denounces Alleged Israeli Plot Against Nuclear Scientists

Quote:Iran's Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, says there is a vast assassination plot behind the attacks on Iranian nuclear physicists last year.

[Image: reuters_iran_heydar_moslehi_300_11Jan11.jpg]
Iran's Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi speaks with foreign and local media at a news conference in Tehran, 11 Jan 2011

The intelligence minister claims the alleged suspects in the killings are connected with Israel's Mossad spy agency. Heydar Moslehi warned any countries providing support to Israel represent a threat to the region.

He accuses Israel of using, what he calls, mercenaries for intelligence purposes. He names Iranian opposition and separatist groups and says they collude with Israel and NATO spy organizations, which they contact in Western Europe.

Physicist Masoud ali-Mohammadi was killed one year ago, followed by the death of nuclear physicist Majid Shahriari in November.

Iranian TV broadcast what it called a "confession" Monday by an alleged terrorist named Majid Jamali-Fash, who claimed to have visited Israel to be trained by the Mossad.

But political science professor Houchang Hassanyari, of Canada's Royal Military College, says the confession looks forced.

"The confession was, I think, very artificially, hastily organized and put together," he said. "Basically, what the gentleman was saying: he mentioned Tel Aviv: [that] Israeli agents took them to a place in the north of Tel Aviv, trained them and showed them how to use a motorcycle."

Hassanyari notes that Moslehi's announcement comes exactly one-year after ali-Mohammadi was assassinated, and says the Iranian government is under pressure to find the culprits.

"Many, maybe millions of Iranians who watched that are pessimistic about the whole staging of this situation," he said. "People in Iran [are] criticizing the regime: how they pretend to be able to monitor a fly in the sky and are not capable to find the assassins of those who killed ali-Mohammedi."

University of Denver Political Science Professor Nader Hashemi says the Iranian government is suffering a "huge crisis of legitimacy" and that its normal reaction is to blame either the United States or Israel whenever something goes wrong.

"Whenever anything goes wrong [the regime] falls back on this standard refrain that the entire world is conspiring against us, everyone is to blame for Iran's internal problems, except Iran's current regime and its own political leaders," he said.

Amir Moussavi of Iran's Center for Arab and Iranian Studies told several Arab satellite TV channels that Tehran possesses convincing documents about Western and Israeli involvement in assassinating Iranian scientists. But he refused to elaborate on what those documents might be.

U.S. officials have called the accusation of involvement absurd. Israeli Cabinet Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer said last year he knew nothing about the incident, but it is not surprising Iran blames Israel.
More selective educational intervention by foreign interests?
Quote:Iran: Slain Man Was Student, Not Nuclear Scientist
Published: July 23, 2011 at 4:50 PM ET

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran said the victim of a deadly shooting Saturday was a university student not a physicist involved in the disputed nuclear program as state media first reported.

A mix-up over the victim's name apparently led to the confusion, the English-language Press TV said.

Initial reports said a pair of gunmen firing from motorcycles killed 35-year-old Darioush Rezaei, a physics professor whose area of expertise was neutron transport. Several news reports, including by the semi-official ISNA news agency, linked him to the country's nuclear program.

But an investigation later determined the slain man was Darioush Rezaeinejad, an electronics student at Khajeh Nasir University in Tehran.

The initial reports raised concerns because the attack appeared similar to other recent assassinations of scientists that Tehran blamed on the U.S. and Israel.

The U.S. and Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the cover of its civilian atomic energy program.

Iran's missile program and its launch of satellites have raised fears it is also marching toward a capability to deliver a nuclear warhead across continents.

Iran denies the accusations and says its atomic program has entirely peaceful aims.

Despite the U.N. and other sanctions, Iran has steadily moved ahead with its uranium enrichment work, the central aspect of its nuclear program and the process that is of deepest concern to the West because it can be used both to produce reactor fuel and material for nuclear warheads.

Iran insists it is only after reactor fuel, but the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency has accused Iran of stalling its investigation into the work for years.

In November, a pair of back-to-back bomb attacks in different parts of the capital killed one nuclear scientist and wounded another. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the U.S. and Israel.

In those attacks, assailants on motorcycles attached magnetized bombs to the cars of two scientists as they drove to work. They detonated seconds later.

The man who survived that attack, Fereidoun Abbasi, is on a list of figures suspected of links to secret nuclear activities in a 2007 U.N. sanctions resolution, which put a travel ban and asset freeze on those listed.

Abbasi has since been named one of Iran's vice presidents and head of its nuclear agency.

At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years.

Besides the attacks on scientists, Iran has faced other setbacks in its nuclear work that it said were the result of foreign plots, including a mysterious computer worm that forced a temporary shutdown of Iran's main enrichment plant in the central town of Natanz last year.

Iran's foreign minister said earlier this month that his country was ready to cooperate more closely with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency but only if it ends its investigation into allegations that Tehran has secretly worked on a nuclear weapons program a condition rejected by the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Iran argues it has cooperated and answered all questions mandated by the plan governing the agency's probe.
Mossad's murder machine claims another scientist's life in Israeli bid to stop Iran building a nuclear bomb
Last updated at 9:12 AM on 5th August 2011

Murdered: Darjoush Rezaei is the latest man to be allegedly be killed by Mossad agents - who will stop at nothing to stop Iran gaining a nuclear bomb
The two assassins arrived from nowhere as their victim was driving home with his wife. Trapped inside his car, he was hopelessly vulnerable as their motorcycles pulled alongside.
He would just have had time to notice their blacked-out visors before they opened fire, emptying round after round into his chest.
Nuclear scientist Darioush Rezaei died immediately. His wife was critically wounded and still in hospital days after the attack in north eastern Iran.
The hitmen? They vanished into the traffic fumes of the night.
This is a story of ruthless men playing for the highest stakes imaginable. Of secret agents from Israel's intelligence service Mossad who will stop at nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Should Iran succeed, Israel would be desperately vulnerable to attack not least because Iran's President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly threatened to erase the Zionist entity' from the map.
There's also the danger of nuclear proliferation among Israel's Arab neighbours. If Ahmadinejad gets hold of a nuclear weapon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others would immediately seek to do so as well, to prevent Iran from bullying them with its new-found power.
Israel's response to the threat has been deadly.

Hackers 'will target power stations and water plants' in impending cyber 'code war', warns ex-CIA director
Rezaei was assassinated because he was an expert on neutron transport, one of the key processes in making nuclear weapons. He joins a long list of Iranian nuclear scientists and engineers who are being systematically targeted by killers apparently dispatched by the Israeli intelligence agency.
While it is unlikely Mossad would send its own assassins into such a high-risk environment, they will have recruited locals and given them intensive training.
Last November, two senior Iranian scientists were attacked in different parts of the capital. Both victims were driving to work when men on motorbikes attached magnetised bombs to their cars as they were stuck in traffic.
These small explosives are known as shaped charges', designed to focus the blast at its target as a stream of molten metal travelling at 29,000 miles per hour. One bomb killed nuclear engineer Majid Shahriari, while missing his wife in the passenger seat.

Killed: Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, left, and Majid Shahriari were both killed by bombs
In another part of town, nuclear engineer Dr Fereydoon Abbasi narrowly survived an identical attack. Dr Abbasi is an expert in the separation of isotopes, a crucial process in the manufacture of enriched uranium fuel, which has uses in both nuclear reactors and weapons.
In January, it was the turn of 50-year-old Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, who was killed near his north Tehran home by a remotely detonated bomb built into a motorcycle parked on the route he took to work each morning. The bomb blew Mohammadi's car to pieces.
Although his Western scientific colleagues claim that the dead man was an expert in quantum mechanics rather than nuclear fission, it has since emerged that for 20 years he was a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the key government agency involved in developing Iran's nuclear weapons.
The deaths follow a pattern that can be traced back to 2007, when Dr Ardeshir Hosseinpour, a scientist employed at the top-secret Istfahan nuclear plant, mysteriously died of radiation poisoning.
Of course, Israel denies any connection with these deaths. But intelligence experts are convinced Mossad is behind them, sometimes carrying out the killings in conjunction with like-minded intelligence agencies, including the CIA.

Sabotaged: Iran's nuclear facilities have also been attacked using computer viruses, even though none of them are connected to the internet
For the past five years, the CIA's Project Brain Drain' has been trying to lure jobless Iranian science graduates to the U.S. in order to denude Iran of potential nuclear bomb makers. The CIA has also tried to entice the country's more senior nuclear scientists to defect but only half a dozen have done so.
Israel has never made a secret of its policy that those who harm it will be harmed in turn. Yet the killing of Iranian engineers and scientists in increasing numbers smacks of desperation.
The Israelis had hoped to persuade America to help them attack nuclear facilities in Iran, which are buried deep underground. But the U.S. does not wish to get involved in another war, and refused to supply Israel with high-tech bunker-penetrating bombs.
So, for now, Israel decided to delay Iran's research programme using sabotage and the assassination of key scientific players.
This tactic worked before when used against the leaders and bomb-makers of the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas. In this game, morality goes out the window, especially as it's argued that the Iranian scientists know what their research is intended for.
Although the bombings and shootings are the most visible aspect of the Israeli campaign, a highly sophisticated sabotage programme is also under way.

The assassinations and sabotage mean that heads of Mossad, including Meir Degan, can take a more relaxed view of when Iran will achieve its nuclear capability
In some cases, this has involved Mossad creating phoney companies in Europe or Asia which supply Iranian procurement agencies with engineering components such as valves and switches that can be used for nuclear reactors as well as bomb-making. These parts function as normal in the initial deliveries, so as to build Iranian confidence. But then the parts malfunction, as they have been deliberately engineered to.
A more sophisticated example of sabotage was the insertion last November of the Stuxnet computer worm into the operating systems of Iran's nuclear facilities at Natanz and elsewhere.
N one of Iran's nuclear plants have connections to the internet, precisely to prevent a hostile power from corrupting their computers with what is called malware'.
But computer data can still be accessed and transferred using a humble USB memory stick. One was used to infect them with the virus engineered to enter just one type of computer the industrial operating machines made by the German electronic giant Siemens.
Germany is by far Iran's leading importer, and hundreds of German firms including some of the very biggest continue to collaborate with the country where 70 per cent of nationalised industry is owned by the Revolutionary Guard. The Stuxnet malware silently seized charge of the expensive Siemens systems, and either slowed down, or sped up the highly-engineered centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
About 1,000 of these sensitive devices broke down under such unusual pressure, setting back Iran's nuclear ambitions by years.
This cyber-warfare, capable of disabling any number of computer operating systems controlling utilities, food distribution, air traffic and so on, is how major wars will be fought in future.
Experts say only one nation is capable of developing such a sophisticated weapon: the U.S., although the Russians recently paralysed Estonia through a computer-borne attack.
So far, the combination of assassination and sabotage has enabled Meir Degan, the outgoing head of Mossad, and several of his predecessors, to take a more relaxed view of when Iran will achieve nuclear weapons capability.

Previous operation: The Israeli's bombed this site in Syria during 2007 after finding out Iran had bankrolled a facility to develop weapons-grade plutonium
Ultimately, they know that if all else fails, they can try to bomb the Iranian nuclear sites with or without American help.
Israel has undertaken such daring air raids before, but because of the deep underground nature of the nuclear sites and the huge distances between them, the operation would be fraught with risk.
In June 1981, the Israeli air force's Operation Opera obliterated the Iraqi nuclear plant at Osirak, where Saddam Hussein was trying to produce plutonium. A year earlier, the Iraqi project's chief scientist, Yahya El Mashad, had been lured to a hotel in Paris and clubbed to death. A prostitute who claimed to have heard the attack was killed in a hit-and-run traffic accident before she could testify.
More recently, Operation Orchard in December 2007 saw Israeli F-15 jets pulverize a remote site in Syria. Their target was a North Korean-built facility set up to produce weapons-grade plutonium, which had been bankrolled by Iran to the tune of $1  billion.
The Iranians hoped they could develop this technology covertly in another country without Israel finding out. They were wrong.
Prior to the operation, Mossad agents got into the London hotel room of a senior Syrian official, where they bugged his laptop.
This entire operation began after Iranian Deputy Defence Minister and Brigadier General Ali-Reza Asgari disappeared in Istanbul his abduction, or defection, giving the Israelis vital clues as to nuclear collaboration between Iran and Syria. He has never been seen since.
So can murder of this kind be justified?
Israel will contend that what such men do could result in a nuclearised Middle East, and trigger a cataclysmic war. A few dead scientists and engineers are a price worth paying, goes the argument.
Only future historians will know if that was correct.

Read more:
Iran nuclear scientist killed in car bomb blast
By Marc Burleigh (AFP) 4 hours ago
TEHRAN An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed on Wednesday in a Tehran car bomb assassination blamed on Israel that threatens to ignite a dangerously tense international standoff over Iran's atomic programme.
An Iranian official immediately blamed "the Zionist regime" for the explosion, saying the method -- two men on a motorbike attaching a magnetic bomb to the target's vehicle -- was similar to those used in the assassinations of three other scientists over the past two years.
Iran's parliament erupted with yells of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" during a speech by one MP who said Wednesday's attack would not dissuade the Islamic republic from "achieving progress."
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, died immediately in Wednesday's blast, which occurred in front of a university campus in east Tehran.
Two other occupants of the Peugeot 405, one of them his bodyguard/driver, were wounded, Iranian media reported.
Ahmadi Roshan was a deputy director at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, according to the website of the university he graduated from a decade ago, Sharif University.
He was specialised in making polymeric membranes to separate gas. Iran uses a gas separation method to enrich its uranium.
"The responsibility of this explosion falls on the Zionist regime," the deputy governor of Tehran province, Safar Ali Bratloo, told Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam broadcaster, using Iran's term for Israel.
"The method of this terrorist action is similar to previous actions that targeted Iran's nuclear scientists," he said.
Three other Iranian scientists were killed in 2010 and 2011 when their cars blew up in similar circumstances. At least two of the scientists had also been working on nuclear activities.
One of the attacks occurred exactly two years earlier, on January 11, 2010, killing scientist Masoud Ali Mohammadi.
The current head of Iran's atomic organisation, Fereydoun Abbasi, escaped another such attempt in November 2010, getting out of his car with his wife just before the attached bomb exploded.
Those attacks were viewed by Iranian officials as assassination operations carried out by Israel's Mossad intelligence service, possibly with help from US counterparts.
Wednesday's killing sharpened an international confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme in which threats and counter-threats are being increasingly backed with militarised displays of muscle.
Western nations, the United States in the fore, are steadily ratcheting up sanctions on Iran with the aim of fracturing its oil-dependent economy.
Iran has responded by saying it could easily close the Strait of Hormuz -- a chokepoint for 20 percent of the world's oil at the entrance to the Gulf -- if it is attacked or the sanctions halt its petroleum exports.
It has also threatened to unleash the "full force" of its navy should the United States redeploy an aircraft carrier to the Gulf, where the US Fifth Fleet is based.
The United States said in return that it would keep sending its warships to the region, warning that closing the strait would be a "red line" that Iran should not cross.
US ally Britain has dispatched its most modern destroyer, HMS Daring, to the Gulf to join other British ships there.
Iran, meanwhile, says it is about to hold more navy manoeuvres in the strait, following ones nearby that ended less than two weeks ago in which, pointedly, three anti-ship missiles were test-fired.
US-Iranian tensions have also worsened following an Iranian court's death sentence this week on an American-Iranian former Marine it found guilty of spying for the CIA, and Iran's capture last month of what it said was a CIA drone.
Tehran's determination to forge ahead with its nuclear activities have been underlined by the International Atomic Energy Agency's confirmation on Monday that Iran had begun enriching uranium at a second facility -- its Fordo fortified underground bunker.
The IAEA two months ago issued a report strongly suggesting that Western fears of Iranian research into nuclear weapons was backed by a lot of evidence.
Iran, though, insists that its atomic programme is exclusively for energy and medical ends, and it has declared itself open to resuming nuclear negotiations with world powers that collapsed a year ago.
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