TEHRAN - Many Iranian scientists working in the nuclear sector have been killed over the past decade in targeted attacks blamed by Tehran on Israel, with the latest slaying coming on Friday.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there were "serious indications of an Israeli role" in Friday's assassination of one of its most prominent nuclear scientists. He was identified by the defense ministry as Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who headed its research and innovation organization.
Some previous cases:
- In January 2010, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at Tehran University, was killed when a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded outside his home in the capital.
The respected professor taught at the university but also worked for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Several leaders and official media in Iran quickly blamed the attack on Israeli and US intelligence services.
Tehran had the previous month accused the US and Israel of kidnapping nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri who disappeared in May that year
- In November 2010, two scientists with key roles in the Iranian nuclear program were targeted in Tehran by two bomb attacks that Iran blamed on Israel and the US. One of the scientists, Majid Shahriari, was killed.
Between 2010 and 2012, at the height of the crisis with world powers over Iran's nuclear program, five Iranian scientists were assassinated in Tehran, with Iran accusing the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israeli spy service Mossad of being behind the killings.
- On November 12, 2011 an explosion in a munitions depot of the Revolutionary Guards in a Tehran suburb killed at least 36 people including General Hassan Moghadam, in charge of weapons programs for the elite unit.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the US and Israel had led the operation against the Iranian nuclear program.