Days before the assassination of a university scientist, Iran had received information that Israeli and American intelligence intended to carry out terrorist acts in Tehran, claimed Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament. In a statement on January 13, one day after the attack, he blamed the two countries for it.
Washington has rejected Iran’s allegations of the United States’ involvement in the bombing that killed professor Massoud Ali Mohammadi near his home in the Iranian capital as “absurd.” Israel has not commented on the incident.
Mohammadi, 50, was killed in a powerful bomb blast as he was leaving his home in northern Tehran for work.
Iranian officials and state media described the slain scientist as a nuclear physicist, but a spokesman said he did not work for the Atomic Energy Organization at the center of Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
The influential Larijani said a U.S.-based pro-monarchy group had claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that it was controlled by the CIA. Iran’s Fars News Agency on January 12 said such an exile group had claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement, without saying how the statement was obtained.
“An American-based monarchy group…claimed responsibility for this terrorist act,” Larijani said, the state broadcaster reported. “Maybe the CIA and the Zionist regime [Israel] thought they can mislead us with such an absurd statement.”
“We had clear information several days ago that the intelligence apparatus of the Zionist regime and the CIA wanted to implement terrorist acts in Tehran.”
Using such a “rootless group” as a cover was a new “disgrace” for President Barack Obama, Larijani said. “Why do you host this terrorist group in America?” he asked.
Both the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry Israel declined on January 12 to comment on the explosion or the Iranian accusations. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner denied the charge the United States was behind the blast, calling accusations “absurd.”
“One can see in preliminary investigations signs of the triangle of evil of the Zionist regime, America and their mercenaries in Iran in this terrorist incident,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
“Such terrorist acts and the physical elimination of the country’s nuclear scientists will certainly not stop the scientific and technological process but will speed it up,” he added.
“Given the fact that Massoud Ali Mohammadi was a nuclear scientist, the CIA and Mossad services and agents most likely have had a hand in it,” Iranian prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said.
The Washington Post reported on January 12 that Ali Mohammadi was involved in a regional research project that also involved Israeli scientists. The project, called Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or SESAME, is based in Jordan and operates under United Nations auspices.