Iranian Nuclear Scientist Killed, Second Injured in Identical Bomb Attacks

A physicist involved in Iran’s nuclear program was killed in a bombing in Tehran and another scientist was injured in a second blast, authorities said.

Majid Shahriari died early today as he was heading to his teaching job at Shahid Beheshti University, state-run news agencies including Mehr reported. Fereydoun Abasi, a physicist at the same university, was injured along with his wife, Mehr said. The bombs were attached to their cars by magnets, Hossein Sajedinia, Tehran’s police chief, was cited as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

“Majid Shahriari was one of my students for years and had a good cooperation with the organization,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, told IRNA. “He was involved in one of the great projects of the organization.”

Iran is under international pressure over its nuclear program, which the U.S. and allies say is a cover for building atomic weapons. Iran rejects the allegation and says it needs nuclear technology for civilian purposes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this month that Iran should know that “all options are on the table” to halt the program.

Shahriari was a member of a regional scientific program known as Sesame, which includes Israel as a member, according to the project’s website. He succeeded Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, an Iranian scientist who also died in an attack, the Tehran-based Asre-Iran website, which is close to the government, said today. Ali-Mohammadi, a professor of elementary particle physics, was killed in January by a bomb planted outside his home in Tehran.

U.S., Israel Blamed

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar accused the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services of being behind the attack on Shahriari. Iran had also blamed Ali-Mohammadi’s killing on the U.S. and Israel.

“The CIA and Mossad are enemies of the Iranian nation and always sought to harm it as they want to prevent our scientific progress,” Mohammad-Najjar said, according to state television. “The enemy is resorting to such actions because it didn’t succeed by threatening and imposing sanctions on Iran.”

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said today that Israel has a longstanding policy of not commenting on such allegations.

Salehi, who visited Abasi at a hospital, warned Iran’s enemies not to “play with fire” and said that “the patience of Iranian people is limited,” according to IRNA.

Shahriari, a professor of nuclear engineering, acted as an Iranian adviser to the Sesame council, which includes Israel, Egypt, Bahrain, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey and Palestinians, according to the program’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at lnasseri@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maher Chmaytelli at mchmaytelli@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.