03 February 2007

Mysterious death of Iran’s top (nuclear) scientist

I most certainly missed this. Did anyone else see it?

"Mysterious death of Iran’s top scientist"

Tehran, Jan. 26:

"One of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, Ardeshir Hassanpour, a professor at the University of Shiraz, has died under mysterious circumstances.

Hassanpour’s death was announced by Iranian state television, a week late, on Thursday.
No reason was given for his death. The scientist was proclaimed the best scientist in the military field in the Islamic Republic in 2003. Hassanpour directed the centre for nuclear electromagnetic studies he had founded in 2005. Ardeshir Hassanpour had also co-founded the centre for atomic research in Isfahan, the most important in the country, Iranian state television reported. Last year, Ardeshir Hassanpour was awarded Iran’s most prestigious scientific award, the Kharazmi Prize."

However, that's not all. Yesterday's Christian Science Monitor had this little gem hidden away in the last paragraph of an article on a different subject ("US intelligence report projects deteriorating situation in Iraq"):

"Stratfor, the military intelligence site (subscription needed)...goes on to say that Israel, not wanting to take any chances and having realized that an overt attack on Iran is not really possible, is conducting covert activities in Iran, hinting that the recent death of a top Iranian nuclear scientist may be connected to Israel's secret service, the Mossad."

Propaganda or truth?

UPDATE: Sunday 04 February 2007

The Sunday Times has picked up the story and adds some detail:

Iranian nuclear scientist ‘assassinated by Mossad’
By Sarah Baxter in Washington

"A PRIZE-WINNING Iranian nuclear scientist has died in mysterious circumstances, according to Radio Farda, which is funded by the US State Department and broadcasts to Iran.
An intelligence source suggested that Ardeshire Hassanpour, 44, a nuclear physicist, had been assassinated by Mossad, the Israeli security service.
Hassanpour worked at a plant in Isfahan where uranium hexafluoride gas is produced. The gas is needed to enrich uranium in another plant at Natanz which has become the focus of concerns that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons.
According to Radio Farda, Iranian reports of Hassanpour’s death emerged on January 21 after a delay of six days, giving the cause as “gas poisoning”. The Iranian reports did not say how or where Hassanpour was poisoned but his death was said to have been announced at a conference on nuclear safety.
Rheva Bhalla of Stratfor, the US intelligence company, claimed on Friday that Hassanpour had been targeted by Mossad and that there was “very strong intelligence” to suggest that he had been assassinated by the Israelis, who have repeatedly threatened to prevent Iran acquiring the bomb. "

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