Israel reacts: Iran scientist assassination


Iranian mourners carry the body of professor Massoud Ali Mohammadi during his funeral in Tehran on Jan. 14, 2010. Angry mourners chanting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans joined a funeral procession for the Iranian nuclear scientist killed in a bomb attack Tehran blames on the US and Israel.


Atta Kenare

TEL AVIV, Israel — Another Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated in Tehran, in what appears to be an ongoing, concerted attack upon Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Thirty-two year-old Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, described by the semi-official Iranian news agency as “an oil professor at Tehran’s technical university and a nuclear scientist” was killed alongside an unidentified second man when a “magnetic bomb” was affixed to his car by a passing motorcyclist.

According to numerous sources, Roshan was also a supervisor at the Nantaz nuclear facility, and was working on uranium enrichment. Within hours of the attack, Iran accused Israel of perpetrating the killing.

Tehran’s deputy governor, Safarali Baratloo said, “The bomb used in the [Wednesday] explosion was a magnetic bomb, the same kind that were used in previous assassinations of Iranian scientists. And the fact is that this is the work of the Zionists.”

More from GlobalPost: Iran scientist killed in car blast (VIDEO)

Fars noted that the assassination of Roshan took place on the second anniversary of “the martyrdom Majid Shahirari,” one of several Iranian nuclear scientists who have met suspicious death in the past two years.

The BBC noted that the attack also came one day before the second anniversary of the death of Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a lecturer at Tehran University, was killed by a remote-controlled device as he left his home.

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz published a timeline of recent suspicious incidents involving figures connected to the Iranian nuclear program.

The Israeli government has not officially reacted, but later in the day, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Yoav Mordechai updated his Facebook page with a laconic line: “Don’t know who had an open account with the Iranian scientist but I’m definitely not shedding tears.”

The accusation is an extraordinary step for the Iranian government, allowing for the possibility that a foreign power has successfully committed a subversive act on its sovereign soil. Iran has in recent months preferred to describe explosions and bombs that have taken the lives of nuclear scientists or military officials “work accidents.”

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi decried the hit, saying, also according to Fars "those who claim to be fighting terror have targeted Iranian scientists, but they should know that our scientists are becoming more determined in their efforts every day."

He warned Iran’s enemies that they "must know that such acts of terror cannot prevent the Islamic Republic's scientific progress."

Israeli Home Front Minister, retired general Matan Vilnai, told Israel Army Radio “I don’t relate to this as an accident. I see it as part and parcel of the sanctions against Iran. None of these incidents on their own can stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but taken together, they can delay progress.”

A well-regarded foreign affairs blog on the site of French newspaper Le Figaro is reporting, under the headline "Covert War," that the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, is recruiting Kurdish rebels as allies in its ongoing efforts to halt Iran's nuclear plans.

On his blog TikkunOlam, the American blogger Richard Silverstein reports that a “confidential Israel source confirms today’s murder was the work of the Mossad and MEK.” MEK is the acronym for People’s Mujahedin of Iran, an Iranian guerilla opposition group advocating the overthrow of the Islamic Republic’s government.