Israel is accused of killing Iranian scientist


TEHRAN – An Iranian nuclear scientist was blown up in his car by a motorbike hitman yesterday, prompting Tehran to blame Israeli and US agents but insist the killing would not derail its nuclear programme.

In the fifth daylight attack on technical experts in two years, the killer’s magnetic bomb delivered a targeted blast to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan’s silver sedan as he drove down a busy street close to Tehran University during the morning rush hour. The chemical engineer’s passenger also died, Iranian media said, while a passerby was slightly hurt.

Israel, whose military chief had warned Iran only on Tuesday to expect more mysterious mishaps, declined to comment. While many analysts saw Israeli or western involvement as quite possible, the role of local or other Middle Eastern powers could not be ruled out.

The killing, which left debris hanging in trees and body parts on the road, came in a week of heightened tension. Iran has started an underground uranium enrichment plant and sentenced an American to death for spying. For their part, Washington and Europe have stepped up efforts to cripple Iran’s oil exports for its refusal to halt work that the West says betrays an ambition to build nuclear weapons, not the power plants Iran claims.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, which has failed to persuade the West that its quest for nuclear power has no hidden military goal, said the killing of Mr Ahmadi-Roshan would not deter it. “We will continue our path without any doubt . . . Our path is irreversible,” it said in a statement carried on television.

“The heinous acts of America and the criminal Zionist regime will not disrupt our glorious path . . . The more you kill us, the more our nation will awake.”

First vice-president Mohammad Reza Rahimi, quoted by Irna news agency, said: “Iran’s enemies should know they cannot prevent Iran’s progress by carrying out such terrorist acts.”