Iran may have used a secret cable published by WikiLeaks to target and hang an alleged Israeli spy, The Times of London reported Wednesday.
While the report is inconclusive and the evidence anecdotal, it notes striking similarities between a WikiLeak cable's description of its Iranian source and twenty-four year old Majid Jamali Fashi, hanged in Tehran on Tuesday in connection with the murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist in 2010.
Though WikiLeaks redacted the source's name before releasing the cable penned by an intelligence operative in Baku, Azerbeijan, it published the description of the source as "a licensed martial arts coach and trainer." According to the Times, Fashi, a professional kick-boxer, had visited Azerbaijan for a kick-boxing tournament days before the cable was sent.
The report, which The Jerusalem Post
could not independently verify, speculates that the leak may have called Iran's attention to Fashi, or simply served as a pretext against him
Iran alleges that Fashi traveled to Israel from Azerbeijan and received Mossad training. The Islamic Republic convicted Fashi in a closed trial after extracting a televised "confession."
The nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was killed in January 2010 when a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle outside his home in Tehran went off.
Yet Western analysts said Ali-Mohammadi, a 50-year-old Tehran University professor, had little, if any, role in Iran's sensitive nuclear program. A spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said at the time he was not involved in its activities. The most recent attack on an Iranian scientist occurred in January. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan - a deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility - was killed when a magnetic bomb planted on his vehicle detonated.
Tehran has accused Israel and the United States of assassinating four Iranian scientists in order to sabotage its controversial nuclear program. Washington has denied any US role, while Israel has declined to comment.
Last month, Iranian intelligence officials said they had arrested 15 people they called a "major terror and sabotage network with links to the Zionist regime." The group had plotted to assassinate an Iranian scientist in February, the authorities said.
Iran denies Western accusations it is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, but major powers are pushing Tehran to become more transparent and cooperative ahead of talks later this month.Reuters contributed to this report