A top nuclear scientist was killed in Teheran on Monday when magnetized bombs
attached to his car went off.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi,
said the dead man, Majid Shahriari, had been involved in a major project with
the country’s nuclear agency, although he did not give specifics. Iranian media
reported that the scientist had been a laser expert at the Defense Ministry and
one of the country’s few top specialists in nuclear isotope
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“Undoubtedly, the hand of the Zionist regime and Western
governments is involved in the assassination,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
told a press conference.
But he said the attack would not hamper the
nuclear program and vowed that one day Iran would take revenge.
in the near future when time will come for taking them into account, their file
will be very thick,” he said.
Iranian officials said they suspected the
killing was part of a covert campaign aimed at damaging the country’s nuclear
program. At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in
recent years, one of them in an attack similar to Monday’s.
officials declined to comment on the reports, but it and the United States have
been leading covert efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear drive, according to foreign
reports. Israel has been accused in recent years of carrying out a number
of assassinations in Iran, as well as sabotaging equipment related to the
Shahriari was a member of the nuclear engineering
faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Teheran. His wife, who was in the car
with him, was wounded.
Shahriari cooperated with the Atomic Energy
Organization of Iran, said Salehi, who heads the organization.
involved in one of the big AEOI projects, which is a source of pride for the
Iranian nation,” Salehi added, according to IRNA, without giving any details on
the project. Salehi also said the slain scientist had been one of his own students.
The AEOI is in charge of Iran’s nuclear
activities, including its uranium enrichment program.
In a simultaneous
attack, assailants planted a bomb on the car of fellow scientist Fereidoun
Abbasi, who was wounded along with his wife.
A pro-government website,
mashreghnews.ir, said Abbasi held a PhD in nuclear physics and had long been a
member of the Revolutionary Guard. It said he was also a lecturer at Teheran’s
Imam Hossein University, affiliated with the Guard. The United States accuses
the Guard of having a role in Iran’s nuclear program.
The website said
Abbasi was a laser expert at the Defense Ministry and also one of the few top
Iranian specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
Isotope separation –
meaning the isolation of a specific isotope of an element – is a process needed
for a range of purposes, from producing enriched uranium fuel for a reactor, to
manufacturing medical isotopes, to producing a bomb.
bore close similarities to another in January that killed Masoud Ali Muhammadi,
a senior physics professor at Teheran University. He was killed when a
bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his car as he was about to leave for
Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad confirmed for the first time on Monday that
a computer worm affected centrifuges in the country’s uranium enrichment
Iran had previously denied that the Stuxnet worm, which experts
say is calibrated to destroy centrifuges, had caused any damage, saying its
experts had uncovered the virus before it could have any effect.
Ahmadinejad said on Monday it “managed to create problems for a limited number
of our centrifuges.”
Speaking to a press conference, he said the problems
had been resolved.