Sunday, July 24, 2011

Iran blamed U.S., Israel for killing of scientist


TEHRAN, July 24 (Reuters) - A senior Iranian official on Sunday blamed the United States and Israel for the assassination of an Iranian scientist, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Darioush Rezaie, 35, a university lecturer with a physics doctorate, was shot dead by a motorcyclist in Tehran on Saturday. The student news agency ISNA quoted an unnamed police official as saying Rezaie was a nuclear scientist but Deputy Interior Minister Safarali Baratlou said this was not certain.

"The terrorist U.S.-Israeli action yesterday, which targeted one of the country's scientific elites, is another example of the level of the U.S. animosity (against Iran), said parliament speaker Ali Larijani in a speech to the legislative body.

Iran's security apparatus is investigating the assassination, but no arrests have been reported.

Larijani also blamed "American adventurism" for the deaths on Friday of a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards corps and five others in a landmine explosion on a road.

"The Americans who regard such measures in their so-called world management as permissible should think well about the consequences," Larijani said.

There has been no claim of responsibility for Rezaie's killing. Several nuclear scientists have been assassinated in Iran in the last few years. One scientist was killed and another wounded in Tehran in November.

Iran is at odds with the United States and its allies over its nuclear programme, which the West says is a cover to build bombs. Iran, a major oil producer, denies this and says it is enriching uranium solely for civilian purposes.

Tehran's refusal to halt its enrichment work has led to the imposition of several rounds of sanctions by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari)

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