Iran accuses Israel and the USA of assassinating an Iranian nuclear professor in Tehran, pointing to a string of attacks against such scientists in the country.
Both countries have denied the accusations, according to AP.Iran's vice-president reacted to the attack by saying it would not stop "progress" in the country's nuclear program.“Those who claim to be combating terrorism have targeted Iranian scientists. They should know that Iranian scientists are more determined than ever in striding towards Iran's progress," Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told state television.Identified by Iranian media as Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, the chemistry expert was killed on January 11 in a car-bomb explosion, while two others were injured. "This morning a motorcyclist attached a bomb to a Peugeot 405, which exploded," the deputy governor of Tehran province, Safar Ali Baratloo, was quoted by the ILNA news agency as saying.The magnetic bomb, attached under Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car, went off at a faculty of Iran's Allameh Tabatai University."The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and the work of the Zionists [Israelis]," Fars quoted Safarali Baratloo as saying.Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, was a director of the Natanz Uranium enrichment facility in central Iran and specialized in making polymeric membranes which are used to separate gases. The technology of gas separation is required for the enrichment of uranium.The blast follows confirmation made by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday that Iran has begun to enrich uranium in a new, underground bunker in Fordo, southwest of Tehran. The United States, Britain, France and Germany responded to the IAEA’s conformation, calling it an unacceptable "violation" of UN Security Council resolutions.The blast, which comes amid extremely high international tensions over Iran's nuclear program, is not the first crime against Iranian scientists involved in nuclear activities. Another three scientists were killed in 2010 and 2011 in similar circumstances. Those attacks were also considered by Iranian officials as assassination operations carried out by Israel's Mossad intelligence service, possibly with help from US counterparts.The international community believes, though, that Iran’s nuclear program is merely a front for its ambitions to create a nuclear weapon.Tehran firmly denies that its nuclear program is for anything other but peaceful purposes and threatened to close the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, if Israel or the United States attacks Iran.Dr. Maher Salloum of the Universal Peace Federation, believes Iran’s claims that the US or Israel were behind the assassination is a fair accusation. “Consecutive assassinations against nuclear scientists inside Iran will lead to an example of how the West, actually, and the US, specifically, through Mossad or through the CIA, will always engineer or handle such assassinations inside Tehran,” he told RT. Salloum also said a regional war would be likely if both sides continue escalating tensions. “I am predicting a certain regional war in the area if tension grows by time, and incidents, they grow like a snowball in the Gulf region, and specifically in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has shown its military power. So this will eventually escalate the situation inside the Gulf and specifically in Hormuz.”War correspondent Eric Margolis told RT that the latest assassination, which he describes as an international crime, will not seriously affect Iran’s nuclear program. “It may slow things down, but it won’t end them because Iran is a big country, it has a large cadre of scientists. It will continue to work.”
According to Margolis, possible retaliation from Iran could be directed against Israeli or American scientific figures or diplomats in the region. “The Iranians are very anxious to get revenge, but they are being cautious because war seems not so far away in the Gulf,” he added.