Iran Guard Says Dead Official Wasn’t Assassinated

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rejected reports that the head of the country’s cyber warfare program had been assassinated, saying only that it was probing the death of an employee it didn’t identify.

“This statement denies all the news about assassinating one of our workers after a very sudden incident happened to him,” the Imam Hassan Mojtaba division of the Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement on the Alborz website. “We are investigating the incident and the intention of the attacker or attackers.”

The U.K. Daily Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday that cyber warfare chief Mojtaba Ahmadi was shot dead in a targeted assassination, citing what it said was an earlier report on Alborz. He was killed by two bullets to the heart, according to the daily.

The Revolutionary Guards, which didn’t provide the name or rank held by the dead man, said his body was found near Karaj, a town northwest of Tehran, according to the statement on Alborz. Iran has accused Western powers of assassinating at least three of its nuclear scientists since 2010, a charge the U.S. State Department has denied.

“It is possible that the assassination is the outcome of an internal dispute and didn’t come from abroad,” Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Perry said on Israel Radio when asked about the incident.

Phone Call

Amid international concerns that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology may enable it to build nuclear weapons, U.S. President Barack Obama and his allies in Europe squeezed Iran’s economy with tighter sanctions, leading to a slump in the nation’s oil to the lowest level since 1990. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly last week his nation is ready to enter talks about its atomic activity “without delay.”

Iran says its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes.

While Rouhani rejected Obama’s offer for an informal meeting in New York, Obama and Rouhani spoke for 15 minutes with the help of interpreters Sept. 27. The conversation, the first of its kind between leaders of the two nations since 1979, was mainly about the “nuclear issue,” Rouhani told reporters Sept. 30.

Rouhani took office in August after pledging to govern with moderation and to seek an easing of sanctions on his country by engaging with the West, including the U.S.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dana El Baltaji in Dubai at delbaltaji@bloomberg.net; Yeganeh Salehi in Tehran at yalehi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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