Iranian nuclear scientist 'assassinated by Mossad'

by Sarah Baxte (source: Timesonline )
Sunday, February 4, 2007

A PRIZE-WINNING Iranian nuclear scientist has died in mysterious
circumstances, according to Radio Farda, which is funded by the US State
Department and broadcasts to Iran.

An intelligence source suggested that Ardeshire Hassanpour, 44, a nuclear
physicist, had been assassinated by Mossad, the Israeli security service.

Hassanpour worked at a plant in Isfahan where uranium hexafluoride gas is
produced. The gas is needed to enrich uranium in another plant at Natanz
which has become the focus of concerns that Iran may be developing nuclear

According to Radio Farda, Iranian reports of Hassanpour's death emerged on
January 21 after a delay of six days, giving the cause as "gas poisoning".
The Iranian reports did not say how or where Hassanpour was poisoned but his
death was said to have been announced at a conference on nuclear safety.

Rheva Bhalla of Stratfor, the US intelligence company, claimed on Friday
that Hassanpour had been targeted by Mossad and that there was "very strong
intelligence" to suggest that he had been assassinated by the Israelis, who
have repeatedly threatened to prevent Iran acquiring the bomb.

Hassanpour won Iran's leading military research prize in 2004 and was
awarded top prize at the Kharazmi international science festival in Iran
last year.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to announce next Sunday - the 28th
anniversary of the Islamic revolution - that 3,000 centrifuges have been
installed at Natanz, enabling Iran to move closer to industrial scale
uranium enrichment.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency say that hundreds of
technicians and labourers have been "working feverishly" to assemble
equipment at the plant.