Iran Denies Nuclear Scientist Slain

Posted July 23rd, 2011 at 5:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Iran said the victim of a deadly shooting Saturday was a university student — not a nuclear physicist as first reported by the state media.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency and English-language Press TV said the confusion was caused by the similarity in the names of the victim and the scientist.

Initial reports said a pair of gunmen firing from motorcycles killed nuclear scientist Darioush Rezaei. Later reports said the victim was electronics student Darioush Rezaeinejad.

The initial reports raised concerns because the attack appeared similar to other recent assassinations of scientists.

Last year, Iranian officials blamed Israel for bomb attacks that killed a prominent nuclear scientist and wounded another.

State media reports said one explosion killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahrair and a separate blast wounded nuclear physicist Fereidoun Abbasi. The reports say in both cases, attackers on motorcycles attached bombs to the scientists' cars.

The intelligence ministry later said authorities had arrested more than 10 suspects in connection with the attacks. It said the suspects were linked to Israel's Mossad spy agency. Israel denied involvement in the incidents.

Tensions have been high between Iran and many Western nations that suspect Tehran is working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.