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Blast Kills Iranian Nuclear Physicist


An Iranian nuclear physicist has been killed by a remote-controlled bomb hidden in a motorcycle. Iranian prosecutor general Abbas Jaafar Dolatabadi is pointing the finger at Western intelligence agencies. A U.S. State Department spokesman called the accusation "absurd."

Iranian-government TV is calling the explosion that killed a physics professor at Tehran University a "terrorist act." The TV report says a bomb hidden in a motorcycle killed Massoud Ali-Mohammadi as he was getting into his car.

The TV showed relatives of Mohammedi crying in front of the building where he lived, as a large crowd of bystanders gathered around his burned-out vehicle. Most windows in the modern-looking building where he resided appeared to have been blown out from the force of the explosion.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmenparast accused Israel, America and Iranian mercenaries of being behind the "terrorist incident."

Tehran prosecutor-general Abbas Jaafar Dolatabadi told Iranian TV a similar story, saying because Massoud Ali Mohammadi was a nuclear scientist it was likely the CIA and the Mossad spy services and their agents had a hand in his killing.

At least a dozen street-cleaners worked feverishly with their brooms, sweeping up broken glass. An older man who witnessed the explosion explains what happened.

He says it was shortly after 7:00 a.m. when he heard the sound of an explosion that he thought was an earthquake. When he arrived at the scene, he says, the door of professor Ali-Mohammadi's house was torn off and there was a fire. He adds the professor's wife and children were crying, and the professor's head was slumped to the side as he pulled him out of his vehicle, dead. I have known the family, he notes, for 24 years.

A monarchist opposition group reportedly claimed responsibility for the assassination, accusing the professor of being involved in Iran's nuclear program. Several people that knew him indicated that he was a "theoretical physicist," denying he was involved in Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam TV called Mohammadi a "hezbollahi teacher," to indicate that he was a staunch government supporter. But an opposition Web site loyal to leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said Mohammadi was a well-known Mousavi supporter. Mohammadi was also a veteran of the bloody, eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

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