Iran suspects UN had role in nuke scientist murder

Worshippers carry portraits of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan during his funeral on January, 13  (Reuters / Morteza Nikoubazl)
Iran is suspicious that UN agencies may have given away information which aided the murder of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan on January 11.

Iranian deputy UN ambassador Eshagh Al Habib told the UN Security Council on Thursday that there was “high suspicion” that, in order to prepare the murder, terrorist circles used intelligence obtained from UN bodies. According to him, this included interviews with Iranian nuclear scientists carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the sanction list of the Security Council, Reuters news agency reports.

Officials observed that prior to the murder, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan had talked to IAEA inspectors, a fact which “indicates that these UN agencies may have played a role in leaking information on Iran's nuclear facilities and scientists."

Meanwhile the IAEA rejected accusations over the scientist’s killing, claiming Friday that it had no knowledge of an Iranian scientist killed last week, Reuters reports. In a separate statement, the nuclear watchdog confirmed that its senior officials would travel to Tehran later this month for rare talks about the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear program. The IAEA delegation, to be headed by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, is expected to seek explanations for intelligence information indicating that Iran has engaged in research and development for nuclear weapons.

Although the UN Security Council’s list of sanctioned individuals does not include Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, it does bear the name of Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani, who was wounded in a Tehran car bomb attack in November, 2010.

Eshagh Al Habib accused the United Nations of failing to guarantee the confidentiality of the information it obtains about the Iranian nuclear program and nuclear scientists. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky says he is currently investigating the claims. 

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, who was overseeing Iran’s uranium enrichment program, is one of five Iranian nuclear specialists killed in the last two years. He was murdered by one or more motorbike hit men who allegedly planted a magnetic bomb on his car or, alternatively, dropped a bomb inside the car during the morning rush hour.  Iran accused American and Israeli intelligence of carrying out the murder – a charge both countries deny.

The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities. Western countries believe Iran’s nuclear program has military dimensions.  However Tehran maintains it is peaceful, and the IAEA has failed to produce any evidence of concrete plans to develop a nuclear arsenal.

­‘Iran should review relations with IAEA’ – MP

While Eshagh Al Habib was mild and focused in his evaluation of the UN’s possible role in the murder of the Iranian nuclear scientist, a senior member of Iran’s Majlis, Zohreh Elahian, was far more outspoken.

The member of Iran’s Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy announced on Thursday that it had been proven that IAEA inspectors were transferring Iran’s sensitive data to the United States and Israel, Iran’s television network Press TV reports.  The legislator added that Iran should review the way it interacts with the agency and its inspectors as the current approach was unacceptable. 

Zohreh Elahian said that foreign intelligence agencies – America’s CIA, Israel’s Mossad and the British MI6 – were responsible for the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists and added that Iran would pursue such terror acts through legal and international bodies.