Tehran – A leading Iranian nuclear scientist was murdered near the capital Tehran on Friday, the Iranian Ministry of Defense said on state television.
The Iranian Raja News, which is affiliated with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the channels IRIB and IRINN reported, among other things, that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh had died near the capital Tehran.
Earlier, Tehran’s Atomic Energy Agency said there had been no incident with a nuclear scientist. There was no explanation for the different accounts.
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In the West he is referred to as the Iranian Robert Oppenheimer, the American scientist who created the atomic bomb in 1945. Fakhrizadeh is a well-known figure and is considered one of the most important Iranian nuclear scientists in the country.
Fakhrizadeh has long been suspected by the West of having launched a covert atomic bomb program that was discontinued in 2003. Iran has long refused to look for a weapon for nuclear energy.
The incident happened in the Absard area of Damavand province, about 40 miles east of Tehran, state media reported.
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Ali Arouzi reported from Tehran, Adela Suliman from London.
Reuters contributed to this report.