Iran hangs "Mossad agent' for scientist killing

Tue May 15, 2012 6:39am EDT
 
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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has hanged a man it said was an agent for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad whom it convicted of killing one of its nuclear scientists in 2010, Iranian state media reported on Tuesday.

Tehran has accused Israel and the United States of assassinating four Iranian scientists since 2010 in order to sabotage its nuclear program which the West suspects is hiding Iran's attempt to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

While Israel has declined to comment on the killings, it regards Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat and has threatened military action against Tehran. Washington has denied any U.S. role.

Twenty-four year old Majid Jamali Fashi was hanged at Tehran's Evin Prison after being sentenced to death in August last year for the murder of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Iran's state news agency quoted the central prosecutor's office as saying. It said he had confessed to the crime.

Ali-Mohammadi was killed in January 2010 when a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle outside his home in Tehran went off.

Tuesday's report said Fashi had confessed to travelling to Tel Aviv to receive training from Mossad before returning to Iran to plot the assassination.

A spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said at the time that Ali-Mohammadi, a 50-year-old Tehran University professor, was not involved in its activities.

The most recent attack on an Iranian scientist occurred in January. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan - a deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility - was killed when a magnetic bomb planted on his vehicle detonated.

Israel has a policy of not commenting on the allegations but an unnamed Israeli source previously said the daylight killings provoked panic in surviving colleagues and generate a phenomenon Mossad veterans dub "virtual defection" which hinders Iran's nuclear progress.   Continued...

 
Majid Jamali Fashi, accused of assassinating Iranian scientist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, attends his trial at the revolutionary court in Tehran August 23, 2011. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi