Middle East
Iran: West behind scientist's death
Officials accuse Israel and US for attacks in which one nuclear scientist was killed and another injured.
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2010 19:25 GMT
Two car bomb blasts killed one Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in Tehran , al Alam TV reported [Reuters]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has accused Israel and Western governments of being behind the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist.

Assailants on motorcycles attached bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran on Monday, killing one and wounding the other, Iranian officials say.

Ahmadinejad said that “undoubtedly the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved'' in the killing. But he said the assassination won't stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear programs. 

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's nuclear chief, said the man killed was involved in a major project at the country's chief nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics.

Some Iranian media reported that the wounded scientist was a laser expert at Iran's defence ministry and one of the country's few top specialists in nuclear isotope separation. State TV blamed Israel and the US for the attacks.
At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in what Iran has alleged was part of a covert attempt by the West to damage its nuclear programme. One of those two was killed in an attack similar to those on Monday.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the Iranian vice-president, also blamed Israel, saying it had "picked up the weapon of terror".

"We will remove this mask and devilish cover from their face and reveal their identity," he said during a joint news conference with Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, who is in Tehran on a state visit.

Some Iranian media have reported that the second scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, had been killed in the attack as well, however Tehran's police chief said on Monday that he survived.

The dead scientist, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was injured.

The second separate attack that wounded Abbasi, also injured his wife, who was in the car with him.

'Cable release orchestrated'

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad, said the US government had orchestrated the release of thousands of US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks to pursue its "political goals".

According to the cables released on Sunday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf leaders repeatedly urged the US to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program.

"We don't give any value to these documents," Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Tehran, Iran's capital. It's without legal value. Iran and regional states are friends. Such acts of mischief have no impact on relations between nations," Ahmadinejad said.

"These documents are prepared and released by the US government in a planned manner and in pursuance of an aim. It is part of intelligence warfare and will not have their desired political impact," he said.

Despite countries calling for a political resolution to the controversy over Iran's uranium enrichment project, the cables show that in addition to Riyadh, both Manama and Abu Dhabi suggested a radical solution may be necessary.

Saudi Arabia also offered to promote energy ties with China if the Chinese government backed sanctions against Iran, according to one of the diplomatic cables, the New York Times reported.

Ahmadinejad announced on Monday that Iran has accepted a date for new round of talks with world powers about its nuclear programme.

The talks will be held in Geneva on December 5, Russia's RIA news agency quoted the Iranian ambassador to Moscow as saying.

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