on Saturday, Iranian media reports said, in a killing that bore
similarities to other slayings of scientists involved in the country’s
nuclear work in recent years.
The semi-official ISNA news agency identified the victim as Darioush
Rezaei, a 35-year-old physics professor involved in Iran’s nuclear
program, and said he was killed in front of his home in Tehran. Iran’s
official IRNA news agency also reported the killing but had few details
on the attack or the man’s background.
Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in
attacks that Iran has blamed on the U.S. and Israel, which accuse Iran
of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the cover of
its civilian atomic energy program. Iran denies those accusations and
says its program has entirely peaceful aims.
The semi-official Mehr news agency also identified the victim of
Saturday’s attack as a professor of physics and said he was assassinated
in front of his house in Bani Hashem street in Tehran.
The wife of the scientist was wounded in the attack and rushed to a
hospital for treatment, Mehr reported, quoting a police official.
Despite UN and other sanctions, Iran has steadily moved ahead with its
uranium enrichment work, the central aspect of its nuclear program and
the process that is of deepest concern to the West because it can be
used both to produce reactor fuel and material for nuclear warheads.
Iran insists it is only after reactor fuel, but the UN’s nuclear
watchdog agency has accused Iran of stalling its investigation into the
work for years.
In November, a pair of back-to-back bomb attacks in different parts of
the capital killed one nuclear scientist and wounded another. President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the U.S. and Israel.
In those attacks, assailants on motorcycles attached magnetized bombs to
the cars of two scientists as they drove to work. They detonated
The man who survived that attack, Fereidoun Abbasi, is on a list of
figures suspected of links to secret nuclear activities in a 2007 U.N.
sanctions resolution, which put a travel ban and asset freeze on those
At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years.