Leading Iranian Nuclear Scientist Killed in Blast
The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, Israel’s international intelligence agency better known simply by the first part of its Hebrew name as “the Mossad,” was behind Saturday’s explosion at a missile base next to Tehran, in the estimation of an official Western intelligence source cited by TIME magazine on Monday. The official said, “Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident.”
By Gil Ronen
A leading figure in Iran’s nuclear development program was among at least 17 people killed in the blast. The incident followed the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency last week, documenting Iranian work on atomic weapons.
A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards missile expert was killed in Saturday’s blast southwest of Tehran, but Iran denied mounting evidence that it was the result of sabotage and that it occurred at a missile base.
The government-controlled media in Iran admitted that one of the 17 people killed in the blast was Brigadier Hassan Moghadam, head of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) missile development. He was a researcher at a Tehran university and headed the “Jihad Self-Reliance” unit.
Iran also explained that the official death toll of 17 originally was reported as 27 due to an illegible fax message.
Iran has insisted that the explosion was accidental and occurred at an ammunition depot, but evidence suggests otherwise. Several sources asserted that the base was home to the Fifth Ra’ad Missile Brigade, responsible for medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile.
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