The scientist killed in Tehran on Friday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, is the latest Iranian nuclear scientist to be attacked since 2012.
Iran’s armed forces related in a statement carried by state media that Fakhrizadeh died in hospital because of the high injuries after assassins fired on his car. He had been described by Western, Israeli, and Iranian exile opponents of Iran’s religious rulers as a leader of a covert atomic bomb program stopped in 2003. But, Iran has long dismissed that it is seeking to weaponize nuclear energy.
In fact, there were other attacks on Iranian scientists during the recent years, including:
Nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, was assassinated by a remote-controlled bomb in Tehran on Jan. 12, 2010. According to certain opposition websites, he had supported moderate candidate Mirhossein Mousavi in the contested 2009 election, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad obtained a second presidential term. Iranian officials called the physics professor a nuclear scientist, but a spokesman stated that he did not work for the Atomic Energy Organization. He also taught at Tehran University.
Western sources declared that the professor worked jointly with Fakhrizadeh and Fereydoun Abbassi-Davani, who were exposed to U.N. sanctions because of their work on suspected nuclear weapons development. Moreover, a Western physics professor related that a list of Ali-Mohammadi’s publications on Tehran University’s website indicated that his specialism was theoretical particle physics, not nuclear energy.
Shahriyari died, and his wife was injured in a car bomb explosion in Tehran on Nov. 29, 2010. Iranian officials described this as an Israeli or US-sponsored assault on its atomic program.
The official news agency IRNA related that Iran’s atomic energy agency Chief Ali Akbar Salehi reported that Shahriyari had a role in one of its biggest nuclear projects, without mentioning any detail. He was a professor at Shahid Beheshti University.
In the same day that Shahriyari was assassinated, Abbasi-Davani and his wife were hurt in a car bomb explosion. Indeed, Abbasi-Davani, who was Chief of physics at Imam Hossein University, had been personally subject to UN sanctions because of his involvement in suspected nuclear weapons research, in what Western officials said. At the time, the intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, later indicated: This terrorist act was carried out by intelligence services such as the CIA, Mossad and the MI6. A group that wanted to carry out a terrorist act but did not succeed was also arrested. They confessed that they were trained by these intelligence services.
Fars news agency stated that Abbasi-Davani was designated vice-president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization in February 2011, but in what the state news agency IRNA reported, he was removed in August 2013.
Rezai (35 years old) was killed by gunmen in eastern Tehran on July 23, 2011. The university professor had actually a PhD in physics, and Deputy Interior Minister Safarali Baratlou related that he hadn’t link to Iran’s nuclear program after that previously reports in some media said that he was.
Ahmadi-Roshan, 32, chemical engineering graduate, was murdered by a bomb set on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran in January 2012. In fact, the attack was similar to that in November 2010, with another passenger died in hospital and a pedestrian was also wounded. Iran declared that the victim was a nuclear scientist who directed a department at Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility; it blamed Israel and the United States for the assault.