Home News Bombs Target 2 more Iran Nuclear Scientists
Bombs Target 2 more Iran Nuclear Scientists Print E-mail
[IRANBOMB] Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Police on Monday inspect a vehicle in Tehran in which prominent nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari was killed and his wife injured by a bomb.

BEIRUT—Separate explosions hit cars in which two prominent Iranian nuclear scientists were riding on Monday, killing one and injuring the other.

Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sharply condemned the attacks and blamed Israel and Western countries in a news conference, saying "they are making a big mistake. They can never stop the people of Iran. We are keeping count of these incidents."

Iranian authorities identified the nuclear scientists as Majid Shahriari and Fereidoun Abbasi Davani, both faculty members of the prestigious Shaid Beheshti University. Mr. Shariari was killed in the attack but Mr. Abbasi Davani is in stable condition, Iranian media reported.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, which happened early Monday in Tehran as the two men were en route to work with their wives. Both wives were also hospitalized, Iranian media reported.

Tehran's police chief said assailants approached the cars on motorcycles and attached magnetic bombs to the driver's side doors of both cars. Images broadcast on state television showed mangled cars, shattered windows in nearby buildings and bodies covered with blankets on the road.

Five scientists, three of whom were high-ranking nuclear researchers, have been killed in Tehran since the highly contested 2009 presidential election. Another nuclear scientist, Sharham Amiri, defected to the U.S. and then defected back to Iran this July amid accusations of being a double agent for Tehran and Washington and hasn't been seen in public since his return.

At the news conference, Mr. Ahmadinejad also dismissed the documents relating to Iran that WikiLeaks released Sunday as invalid and accused the U.S. government of deliberately planting the information to create divisions between Iran and its Arab neighbors.

The State Department's confidential documents show Iran as an increasingly isolated nation with very few real allies, even among Arab Muslim nations. According to the leaked documents, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have advocated military strikes against Iran, while Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who visited Iran this week, told Washington that stopping Iran's nuclear program "is necessary."

"The U.S. government published these papers. It's an intelligence game and a form of psychological war," said Mr. Ahmadinejad at the news conference, which was televised live in Iran.

A pro-government news website described Mr. Abbasi Davani as a longtime senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a much-feared and elite military force, and obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Imam Hussein University, which the IRGC operates.

Mr. Abbasi Davani is a laser specialist and the head of atomic research and training at the Ministry of Defense and one of Iran's few experts in the field of nuclear-isotope separation, Iranian media reported. His name was mentioned on a list of Iranian individuals sanctioned in a 2007 United Nations Security Council resolution against Iran.

Mr. Shahriari was Iran's representative to a regional scientific research organization based in Jordan known as Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or Sesame, which also has Israeli representatives, putting the scientists in a unique position to interact with Israeli counterparts.

Mr. Shahriari is the second Iranian Sesame representative of to be assassinated. In January, a bomb killed Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a physics professor and nuclear scientist, outside his home as he was about to leave for work.

Mr. Mohammadi was an avid supporter of the Green Movement opposition, raising speculation among opposition members that the government was targeting critics who might possess sensitive nuclear information and leak it to foreign countries.

"It's possible that the two scientists targeted today were either thinking of defecting or leaking information," said a security analyst in Tehran.

In October, Iran officially acknowledged for the first time that its nuclear program had been infiltrated by Western spies. Ali Akbar Salehi, the chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said Western countries had established contact with experts in his agency and obtained information about its commercial affairs and international purchases. Mr. Salehi said then that his agency was tightening security and upgrading financial incentives for its employees.

Mr. Salehi, speaking about Monday's attacks, said Iran's patience will run out and its enemies were "playing with fire. I promise our nuclear program will multiply as a result of these actions."

Write to Farnaz Fassihi at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Comments (0)
Only registered users can write comments!