Iran to en­hance se­cu­rity for nu­clear sci­en­tists

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

TEHRAN: Iran said Wed­nes­day it will in­crease se­cu­rity for its nu­clear sci­en­tists as a fu­neral was held for a lead­ing ex­pert killed in a mys­te­ri­ous as­sas­si­na­tion that the govern­ment blamed on the Mos­sad and the CIA.

Ira­nian state me­dia said the killing of the sci­en­tist and the wound­ing of an­other on Mon­day was part of a Western cam­paign to sab­o­tage its nu­clear pro­gram, which the U.S. and its al­lies sus­pect is aimed at pro­duc­ing weapons - some­thing Iran de­nies.

Ac­cord­ing to Iran, that cam­paign in­cluded the ab­duc­tion of Ira­nian sci­en­tists, the sale of faulty equip­ment and the plant­ing of a de­struc­tive com­puter worm known as Stuxnet, which briefly brought Iran's ura­nium en­rich­ment ac­tiv­ity to a halt last month.

Iran's chief sus­pect is arch­en­emy Is­rael, whose Mos­sad spy agency has a long his­tory of as­sas­si­nat­ing foes far be­yond the coun­try's bor­ders. In this case, Iran ac­cuses Is­rael of en­list­ing agents of an Ira­nian op­po­si­tion group, the Peo­ple's Mu­ja­hedeen, to carry out the hit, the de­fense min­is­ter said. There was also co­or­di­na­tion with the CIA and Bri­tain's MI6, he claimed.

The dar­ing attacks - if they were the work of a for­eign power - sug­gest that the stand­off be­tween Iran and the West over Tehran's ura­nium en­rich­ment pro­gram has en­tered a new and ex­tremely dan­grous phase.

Iran's nu­clear chief, Ali Ak­bar Salehi, said Wed­nes­day the as­sas­si­na­tion was a warn­ing to Iran be­fore Dec. 6-7 nu­clear talks with world pow­ers. "The wicked peo­ple wanted to demon­strate their ugly side, which is the pol­icy of carrot and stick, prior to the up­com­ing nu­clear talks," Salehi said at the fu­neral, ac­cord­ing to state TV.

The two sci­en­tists were tar­geted by bombs that hit their cars in sep­a­rate parts of the cap­i­tal. Tehran's po­lice chief has said as­sailants on mo­tor­cy­cles stuck mag­ne­tized bombs to their cars while they were mov­ing through traf­fic and det­o­nated them sec­onds later.

Time mag­a­zine re­ported a dif­fer­ent ac­count Tues­day, say­ing an ex­plo­sive charge was placed in­side the slain man's car and det­o­nated by re­mote con­trol af­ter he got into the ve­hi­cle. It quoted a Western in­tel­li­gence ex­pert with knowl­edge of the op­er­a­tion, and said the other at­tack was sim­i­lar. Sev­eral Ira­nian news web­sites said Wed­nes­day the man who sur­vived, Ferei­doun Ab­basi, re­al­ized he was un­der at­tack and was able to stop the car and jump out along with his wife. A pro-govern­ment web­site, mashregh­news.ir, said Ab­basi was a laser ex­pert and one of the few top Ira­nian spe­cial­ists in nu­clear iso­tope sep­a­ra­tion. -Ap

BRUS­SELS: Bel­gian min­is­ter for Home Af­fairs Annemie Turtel­boom (L) con­fers with Swedish min­is­ter of Jus­tice Beatrice Ask prior to a Jus­tice and Home Af­fairs coun­cil on De­cem­ber 2, 2010 at the EU head­quar­ters. -Ap

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