Man accused of killing Iran nuclear scientist goes on trial

AFP , Tuesday 23 Aug 2011

Iran opens the trial of a man accused of playing a crucial role in the 2010 assassination of its nuclear scientist Masoud Ali Mohammadi


Iran on Tuesday opened the trial of a man accused of playing a crucial role in the 2010 assassination of its nuclear scientist Masoud Ali Mohammadi, local media reported.

"The trial of Majid Jamali Fashi, the main suspect in the case, has officially commenced" in the Revolutionary Court, ISNA news agency reported.

The report added that Jamali Fashi, who says he received training in Israel, faces four charges including Moharebe (waging war against God) through assassination. If proven guilty of being a Mohareb, he faces the death sentence.

Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at Tehran University, was killed in a bomb attack outside his home in January 2010, which Iran blamed on "mercenaries" in the pay of Israel and the United States.

Earlier this year Iran announced it had arrested the man responsible for the bombing that killed Ali Mohammadi, when it said it busted a network working for the Israeli spy agency Mossad.

In a recent televised "confession," a transcript of which was posted on the state television website, Jamali Fashi admitted to having received "training" by Mossad agents, including a spell spent at a base near Tel Aviv where he also received shooting lessons.

Another nuclear scientist, Majid Shahriari, was killed in the capital on November 29, while the current nuclear chief Fereydoon Abbasi Davani survived a similar assassination attempt on the same day.

Iranian officials blamed the attempts on arch-foes the US and Israel.

Tehran has also blamed Israel and the United States for the unexplained disappearances of several of its military officials and nuclear scientists in recent years, and for a computer attack by the Stuxnet malware in the summer of 2010 against its centrifuges, the uranium enriching device.

The Islamic republic is currently under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which Western powers fear masks a military programme.

Several countries, including the United States, and the European Union have also imposed other unilateral punitive measures against Tehran.

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