International

Iran Says A Car Bomb Killed One Of Its Nuclear Scientists

An image grab taken from footage broadcast by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam TV shows blood stains covered by a piece of cloth and debris at the site of the car bomb. i i

hide captionAn image grab taken from footage broadcast by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam TV shows blood stains covered by a piece of cloth and debris at the site of the car bomb.

AFP/Getty Images
An image grab taken from footage broadcast by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam TV shows blood stains covered by a piece of cloth and debris at the site of the car bomb.

An image grab taken from footage broadcast by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam TV shows blood stains covered by a piece of cloth and debris at the site of the car bomb.

AFP/Getty Images

An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a car bomb in Tehran this morning, Iran's official news agency said. According to Press TV, Iran's English-language outlet, a magnetic bomb was placed beneath Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's car by a man on a motorcycle.

Press TV says Roshan and his driver were killed and a bystander was injured. Roshan was a "chemical engineering graduate and served as marketing deputy of Iran's Natanz nuclear facility."

Bloomberg reports that this is the third bomb to target Iran's nuclear program. It reports:

"Iranian officials have accused the U.S. and Israel of targeting Iranian nuclear scientists in an effort to halt the nuclear program, which western nations say aims to produce atomic weapons. European Union ministers plan to meet on Jan. 23 to discuss imposing an oil embargo on Iran. Iranian officials have threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for a fifth of the world's oil, if crude exports are sanctioned.

"Today's attack 'comes in the middle of heightened tensions and it helps Iran to play on a sense of threat that it is under a lot of pressure,' Gala Riani, a Middle East analyst at London-based forecaster IHS Global Insight, said by telephone. 'It can also be beneficial to more extremist elements in the government who are supporting further military drills in the Strait of Hormuz.'"

The AP reports that while the U.S. and Israel have denied Iran's accusations, some Israeli officials have "hinted" at covert campaigns against Iran.

Basing some of its reporting on the Fars News Agency, the AP reports that Roshan was much more than a marketing man. The AP reports Roshan was "deputy director of Natanz uranium enrichment plant, in central Iran, for commercial affairs. According to conservative news website mashreghnews.ir, Roshan was in charge of purchasing and supplying equipment for the facility."

"Natanz," the AP says, "is the centerpiece of Iran's efforts to make its own nuclear fuel."

CNN details the previous two bombings:

"On January 12, 2010, Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed in a blast when an assailant stuck a bomb under his car. Officials later arrested a person in connection with that incident

"In November 2010, nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari was killed in a blast where, again, a bomb was stuck under a car by someone on a motorcycle."

In its latest story about the incident, Press TV quotes journalist and blogger Richard Silverstein who pins the blame directly on Mossad, Israel's spy agency.

Update at 12:44 p.m. ET. U.S. Denies Any Involvement:

The White House denied any role in the bombing, reports Reuters.

"The United States had absolutely nothing to do with this," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. "We strongly condemn all acts of violence, including acts of violence like what is being reported today."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: