Did Iran Kill One Of Its Own Nuclear Scientists?

Iranian dissidents have long suspected that the country’s Islamist regime has used the cover of its not-so-covert war with Israel to crack down on internal opponents, and that a leading Iranian nuclear scientist whose death was blamed on Mossad might really have been killed by his own government.

May 23, 2012

Now a prominent opposition blogger based in London says that discrepancies in the recent trial and execution of the “Israeli spy” officially charged with killing scientist Masoud Ali Mohammadi are yet more evidence that Iranian intelligence agents may have been the real assassins.

Mohammadi, a nuclear physicist, died in January 2010 when a motorcycle parked outside his house was detonated by remote control when he walked past.

A half dozen scientists and officials linked to the nation’s nuclear and long-range missile programs have died under suspicious circumstances since 2010, deaths the Iranian regime usually blames on Israel, the U.S., and the U.K. When Mohammadi died, the regime immediately blamed his murder on a “triangle of wickedness,” meaning the U.S., Israel and their “hired agents.”

“Zionists did it,” said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “They hate us and they don’t want us to progress.” Ali Larjani, chairman of the Iranian parliament, said the government had “clear information that the intelligence regime of the Zionist regime and the CIA wanted to implement terrorist acts.”

But Western intelligence agencies had conflicting information about whether Mohammadi, a particle physicist, was really contributing to the nuclear program. Iranian dissidents. Meanwhile, said Mohammadi had been killed by the regime because he was a supporter of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom many believe actually won the 2009 Iranian presidential election before vote-tampering handed the victory to Ahmadinejad. A German-based opposition group released a photo of an alleged Arab hitman who had supposedly carried out Mohammadi’s assassination on regime orders.

At Mohammadi’s funeral, hundreds of regime loyalists waving anti-Israel banners packed the procession, where they clashed with supporters of Mousavi’s Green Movement.

More than two years later, on May 15, 2012, the Iranian government executed 24-year-old Majid Jamali Fashi, who had been convicted of assassinating Mohammadi.

Iranian authorities claimed that Fashi, 24, was recruited and trained by Mossad and was paid $120,000 to kill Mohammadi. In January 2011, Iranian media had broadcast Fashi’s confession, in which he said he “received different training including chasing, running, counter-chasing and techniques for planting bombs in a car” while in Tel Aviv. Fashi also confessed to receiving forged travel documents in Azerbaijan to travel to Israel, Iran’s Press TV reported.

In a blog post Monday, however, London-based dissident Potkin Azarmehr pointed out that the Israeli passport displayed by Iranian television was stamped 2003, when Fashi was 15 years old, but bore the photo of a hirsute man in his 20s who is not looking directly into the camera. “No passport will be issued with such a picture, anywhere in the world,” wrote Azarmehr. “You need a headshot where you are open-eyed AND looking into the camera.”

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