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Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 01/11/2012

Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated on same date Iranian professor killed in 2010

An Iranian scientist working at a key nuclear facility was assassinated by a magnetic bomb Wednesday, The Post’s Thomas Erdbrink reports.


A policeman checks the remains of a bombed car belonging to Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan Wednesday. (HANDOUT - REUTERS)
The killing of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan suggests a covert effort to push back on Iran’s controversial nuclear program, —  “certain to amplify authorities’ claims of clandestine operations by Western powers and their allies to halt Iran’s nuclear advances” the Associated Press reports.

However, in 2010, Erdbrink reported that Iran's opposition movement blamed the government for past attacks in order to spread fear in the country, and retain control.

Over the past several years, two Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in similar circumstances. An Iranian physics professor, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was killed by a motorcycle bomb on this date in 2010.

Iranian authorities blamed the prior killings on the United States and its allies Wednesday, with some members of parliament shouting, “Death to America!” Erdbrink reports.

“This was a magnetic bomb, like the ones used in previous assassinations,” Safar Ali Baratloo, Tehran’s deputy governor, told Iran’s Fars News Agency. “It is the Zionists’ job.” “Zionist” is the word Iran uses to refer to Israel.

Erbrink reports that because of the killings of Iranian scientists, many who are part of the country’s nuclear program are protected by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Founded in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Guards’ initial mandate was to defend the regime against internal and external threats, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). But the Guards’ power and  involvement in politics has since risen exponentially, in part because it has been needed to “counter external pressure on the nuclear issue,” CFR reports.

That external pressure includes the 2010 attacks of Majid Shahriari, a nuclear engineering professor, and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a professor at the Technical University of Tehran, both killed by a motorcycle bomb — similar to the one that killed Ahmadi-Roshan on Wednesday.

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By  |  11:18 AM ET, 01/11/2012

Tags:  World, Iran, nuclear program, assassinations

 
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