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Fourth nuclear scientist in 2 years killed in Iran
JERUSALEM — An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a bomb blast in Tehran on Wednesday, just days after the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency confirmed that Iran had begun enriching uranium in an underground facility.
The killing marked the fourth assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in two years and adds another incident to a series of mysterious explosions at nuclear-related sites that appear aimed to suspend Iran’s drive for atomic power.
Iran immediately blamed the United States and Israel for the death of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who was killed when two men on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car, according to Iranian state media.
Mr. Roshan, 32, was a supervisor at a uranium enrichment facility in Nantaz.
“The bomb is the same as the ones previously used,” said Tehran’s deputy governor, Safarali Baratloo, who attributed the attack to “the Zionists” — a reference to Israel.
In previous incidents:
• Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a physics professor at Tehran Univeristy, was killed in a car bomb attack on Jan. 12, 2010.
• Majid Shahriari, a nuclear engineer for the Atomic Energy Commission, was killed in a car bomb attack on Nov. 29, 2010. Fereydoon Abbasi, a nuclear scientist at Shahid Beheshti University, was wounded in a similar attack the same day.
• Darioush Rezaeinejad, a nuclear scientist at K.N. Toosi University of Technology in Tehran, was shot dead outside his home on July 23, 2011. His wife also was killed.
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said this week that Iran is trying to achieve nuclear weapons capability but had not yet started to produce a bomb. If the Iranians start to develop a bomb, the U.S. would act, he said.
“They’re going to get stopped,” Mr. Panetta said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said it has evidence that Iran has begun enriching uranium at a new underground site at Fordow that is deep within a mountain and apparently impervious to bombing.
The enrichment is said to be up to 20 percent, far in excess of the level needed for peaceful purposes such as electricity production, as Iranian officials long have claimed.
“I believe that, in the end, to stop the Iranians will require a military operation,” Mr. Yatom said. “If the choice [for Israel] is living with an Iranian nuclear bomb — which means not to live — or a military operation, I favor a military operation.”
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