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Nuclear scientist killed in Iran by motorbike assassin in Tehran.

An Iranian nuclear scientist was blown up in his car by a motorbike hitman on Wednesday, prompting Tehran to blame Israeli and U.S. agents but insist the killing would not derail a nuclear program that has raised fears of war and threatened world oil supplies. The fifth daylight attack on technical experts in two years, the magnetic bomb delivered a targeted blast to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan's silver sedan as he was driven down a busy street near a Tehran university during the morning rush hour. The chemical engineer's driver also died, Iranian media said, and a passer-by was slightly hurt. Israel, whose military chief said on Tuesday that Iran could expect to suffer more mysterious mishaps, declined comment. The White House, struggling for Chinese and Russian help on economic sanctions, denied any U.S. role and condemned the attack.

While Israeli or Western involvement seemed eminently plausible to independent analysts, a role for local Iranian factions or other regional interests engaged in a deadly shadow war of bluff and sabotage could not be ruled out. The killing, which left debris hanging in trees and body parts on the road, came in a week of heightened tension: Iran has started an underground uranium enrichment plant and sentenced an American to death for spying; Washington and Europe have stepped up efforts to cripple Iran's oil exports for its refusal to halt work that the West says betrays an ambition to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its aims are entirely peaceful.
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Title Annotation:IRAN-BOMB
Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 13, 2012
Words:252
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