Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency admitted it eliminated a nuclear scientist in Iran last week, according to a supposed report by German weekly Der Spiegel, quoted by Iran's quasi-official news agency PRESS TV. Israel responded with a “no comment” statement, according to the report, which could not be found on Der Spiegel's website.
Dariush Rezaeinejad’s assassination was the last in at least four successful strikes on nuclear scientists in Iran the past two years.
Iran, after having identified him as a professor of physics whose work involved nuclear development, changed its story and claimed that whoever eliminated him killed the ”wrong man.” Authorities explained he was only a university academic, and that the mix-up in the report was due to their names being similar.
Circumstantial evidence indicates that he was the professor and nuclear scientist who worked for Iran’s intelligence agency and a nuclear facility.
If the Mossad indeed was behind the killing and admitted so, it signals a significant change in policy by the agency’s new director, Tamir Pardo.
Rezaeinejad was shot while taking his daughter to a pre-school facility, and Iran has asked the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the assassination.
PRESS TV said that Der Spiegel, under the headline “Israel's Murderous Sabotage Strategy,” wrote that that assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists is part of Israel's sabotage strategy to stop or delay Iran's nuclear program. Mossad director Pardo has said he is against a direct military strike in Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Two Iranian academics involved in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program were killed last November, and several others have died in supposed accidents.