Tehran (AFP) Jan 13, 2010
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, on Wednesday accused US President Barack Obama of state terrorism over the killing in Tehran of a leading atomic scientist.
In an angry address to Iran's conservative-dominated parliament, Larijani reiterated Iranian charges that the US Central Intelligence Agency and Israel's Mossad were behind the scientist's death in a bombing on Tuesday.
"Such filthy actions are easy to carry out but such adventurism will do you no good," the ISNA news agency quoted Larijani as saying in reference to Obama.
"You have practically promoted acts of terrorism," he said.
Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at prestigious Tehran University, was killed by a bomb strapped to a motorcycle in the capital's well-to-do northern suburbs on Tuesday.
Neither the police nor the intelligence services have yet reported any leads in their investigation, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stopped short of explicitly accusing Washington of being behind the bombing.
"The action taken yesterday by the enemies of logic, justice, humanity and the Iranian people is being investigated by relevant authorities," Mottaki told reporters when asked about accusations of US and Israeli involvement.
Larijani, however, was explicit in pointing the finger of blame at the CIA and Israel's Mossad.
Similar allegations by other Iranian officials of US involvement in the attack have been dismissed out of hand by Washington.
Former Iranian presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday condemned the killing.
But the two politicians, who backed defeated opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June presidential election which saw hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected, did not blame the CIA and Israel.
Islamist students and the volunteer Basij militia also condemned the killing of Ali Mohammadi, whom they described as "a Basiji professor."
In an open letter members of the victim's his family called Ali Mohammadi a man who followed the path of the supreme leader.
"We, as children and wife of the martyr Ali Mohammadi, give condolences to the caring officials of the regime, the noble people of iran, and especially the nation's academia over the martyrdom of a dedicated husband, a kind father and a Valai (supporter of the supreme leader)," the letter said.
But Ali Mohammadi's name was also reported as appearing on a list of pro-Mousavi academics.
However, according to Ali Moghara, who heads the physics faculty at Tehran University, Ali Mohammadi was just a "world famous" physicist who engaged in "no political activity."
Tuesday's rare assassination came as the government of the Islamic republic faced the most sustained period of protest since the revolution of 1979, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets of Tehran after the election.
The opposition charges that the vote was massively rigged in Ahmadinejad's favour.
For the past seven months, the opposition has mounted anti-government protests at every opportunity, many of which have been broken up by police who have arrested hundreds of demonstrators.
The killing in broad daylight also came amid an increasingly bitter standoff between Iran and world powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, which the West suspects is cover for an atomic weapons drive.
Tehran officials have repeatedly accused the United States and Israel, neither of which has ruled out a military strike to thwart Iran's nuclear programme, of seeking to foment unrest inside the country.
Larijani insisted on Wednesday that the scientist's murder would have no impact on Iran's programme.
"Now they seek to eliminate nuclear scientists. You will see that these terrorist actions will achieve nothing and the Iranian nation will safeguard its nuclear success," he said.
Last month, Iran accused the United States of seizing an Iranian scientist while he was on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, a claim Washington refused to comment on and that Riyadh denied.
Iran has ignored repeated UN Security Council ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment, the sensitive process which makes nuclear fuel but in highly extended form can also produce the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
It is already under three sets of UN sanctions, and major powers are to meet in New York on Saturday to discuss proposals for a fourth.
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Iran sanctions talks Saturday in New York: diplomat
United Nations (AFP) Jan 12, 2010
Top officials from six leading powers will meet at the European Union mission in New York Saturday to mull new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance, a diplomat said Tuesday. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the political directors from the United States, Russia, China, Britain France and Germany would huddle throughout the morning Saturday but were not expected ... read more
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