'Iran Killed Physicist Who Refused to Build Bomb'

Physicist Ardeshir Hosseinpour was murdered by Iran – although Israel was blamed, says his sister Mahboobeh.

Gil Ronen,

Iranian workers standing in front of the Bush
Iranian workers standing in front of the Bush
AFP photo

When Iranian nuclear physicist Ardeshir Hosseinpour was murdered in 2007, Israel was the main suspect.

Now, his sister claims he was murdered by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) because he would not cooperate with its efforts to divert nuclear work from peaceful purposes to building an atomic bomb, reports the Canadian National Post's Media Line.

If Mahboobeh Hosseinpour’s account can be confirmed, it could affect the next round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, says the National Post.

Speaking to The Media Line from Turkey via Skype in a conversation arranged by the Iranian opposition group the New Iran, Ms. Hosseinpour, 54, said she learned through her sister-in-law, Sara Araghi, of her brother’s secret research.

She added that this was stored on a DVD, which also contained research and formulae for building an atomic bomb 12 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb and methods for neutralizing it.

Ms. Hosseinpour said in November 2004 her brother was contacted by three special agents working for IRGC’s defence department. They gave him a personal message from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, enlisting him to work on increasing uranium enrichment capabilities in order to build atomic weapons.

In return, “he was offered a two-star rank in the revolutionary guard and ownership of factories.”

The woman insists Israel did not kill her brother, but the IRGC did. She says this was because he would not co-operate.

Her claims are supported by Alireza Nourizadeh, an Iranian journalist, who says she had been in contact with Dr. Hosseinpour.

This included an “email communication he had with me about the sensitivities of his work. [IRGC agents] were aware of it, even if they did not have the content.”

After Dr. Hosseinpour’s death, says the National Post, his wife went to his office at Shiraz University and removed the DVD from its hiding place. “She also found evidence the room had been searched and items were missing, including a photo of him with then-president Mohammed Khatami. The DVD was later stolen,” the report says. “Dr. Hosseinpour’s mother, who died in 2011, was also warned to be careful. She was told Ayatollah Khamenei had issued a fatwa, ordering scientists to work on enriching uranium to 20% for the benefit of the Islamic Republic."

Dr. Iman Foroutan, chairman of the New Iran, a non-profit organization that is working to overthrow the Islamic regime by non-violent means, said Ms. Hosseinpour’s claims could reinforce Western suspicious of the IRGC’s nuclear work and its plans to make atomic bombs.