Der Spiegel reported on Monday
that the Mossad was behind the assassination of Darioush Rezaie, an
Iranian nuclear scientist who was murdered on July 23.
German news magazine quoted an unnamed Israeli intelligence source as saying
that the move was the first act of the new head of the Mossad, Tamir
'Iranian nuclear scientist killed in Tehran'
Rezaie, who was fatally shot by a motorcyclist, is the fourth known Iranian nuclear scientist to be killed since 2010. Der Spiegel
noted that each of the other three, Masood Ali Mohammadi (January
2010), Majid Schahriari and Feridun Abbasi (November 2010), was killed
by either motorcycle riding gunmen or motorcycle bombs.
International Atomic Energy Agency investigation showed that Rezaie held
a Ph.D. in physics and was working on developing a nuclear switch used
for detonating nuclear weapons, according to the Der Spiegel report.
The German magazine wrote that while Iran accuses the United States and
Israel of hiring hitmen to carry out various attacks inside Iran,
Washington denies any involvement and Israel is silently ambiguous.
However, a purported smile on the face of Defense Minister Ehud Barak when refusing to
speculate on the killing gave the Der Spiegel reporter who wrote the story reason to believe he was hiding something.
Although Israel maintains a strict policy of ambiguity when it comes to
Mossad operations, the Israeli spy agency was widely believed to have
been involved in creating and planting the Stuxnet computer virus, which
crippled Iranian nuclear research facilities during the summer of
According to the Der Spiegel article,
the Mossad and Israel Air Force (IAF) are competing for both the
privilege and the funding to attack the Iranian nuclear program. Each
claims that the other is incapable of effectively delaying, let alone
destroying Iran's ability to attain nuclear weapons.