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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bomb Blast in Iran : Massoud Ali Mohammadi dead

Blast Kills Iranian Nuclear Physicist Dr. Massoud Ali Mohammad.

Bomb Blast in Iran : Massoud Ali Mohammadi dead
January 12 2010 : An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed Tuesday by a remote-controlled bomb planted on a motorcycle parked outside his home, state news outlets reported. Government-controlled media reports blamed the attack on "anti-revolutionary" elements within the country and on Iran's foreign foes.

Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, described by his colleagues as a non-political person, was killed as he left his house in the north Tehran neighborhood of Qetariyeh. Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said Ali-Mohammadi was a nuclear scientist.

The rare bomb attack comes amid tensions between the government and a vocal grassroots opposition movement and international pressure over Iran's controversial nuclear program, which Tehran says is aimed only at energy production and other peaceful activities but the United States and its allies believe is focused on creating nuclear weapons.

Iran has accused the United States of kidnapping a nuclear scientist who was on pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in May, and of snatching a former deputy minister of defense who disappeared early in 2007 while visiting Istanbul.

Shahram Amiri, the scientist, has been transferred to the U.S., Iran's foreign ministry said in December. According to U.S. and Israeli media, former defense minister Ali Reza Asgari defected while in Turkey. A senior U.S. official told The Washington Post in March, 2007 that Asgari was cooperating with Western intelligence agencies.

It is unclear whether Mohammadi, the scientist killed Tuesday, was actively involved in the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which controls the country's nuclear program. Essays written by him and posted online show that he was involved in quantum mechanics and that he specialized in elementary particle physics.

The Tabnak Web site, which has close ties t0 supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused "America and Zionist agents" of orchestrating Tuesday's bomb attack, along with the "hypocrites" -- a reference to the exiled opposition group the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran. That group in the past has exposed parts of Iran's nuclear program. It also is responsible for hundreds of political killings since the 1979 Islamic revolution. But its power and influence have waned significantly in the last decade.

"Considering the kind of attack and previous threats by security and terrorist services close to America and the Zionist regime, probably this terrorist attack was sponsored by those services and carried out by the agents of the Hypocrites or the agents of the Zionist regime," Tabnak wrote.

Mohammadi's colleagues at Tehran University blamed the "enemies of Islam and the revolution" for the killing. "They should know that the blessed tree of the Islamic Revolution of Iran becomes stronger and more fruitful with blood." the Tehran University public relations department said in a message issued on Tuesday according the university's Web site.

"He was not political and had no political activities," the head of Tehran University's science department, Ali Maghari, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Compared to neighboring countries such as Iraq and Pakistan, bomb attacks in Iran are rare. In October, 42 people, including six Revolutionary Guards senior commanders, were killed in a suicide attack by insurgents in Iran's tumultuous southeast region, where drug smugglers and separatists are active.

Massoud Ali Mohammadi was a lecturer in nuclear energy and no suspects have yet been arrested, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.

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