14:55 GMT23 February 2020
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    The killings of Iranian nuclear scientists have prompted political analysts to assume during an interview with Sputnik that Israel could have been behind the sabotage of Tehran's atomic program. An Israeli academic argues that one cannot blame Tel Aviv for the assassinations. Meanwhile, an alleged Mossad agent has been sentenced to death in Iran.

    "The only way to paralyze Iran or another country in any particular technological area is to destroy the country's science and liquidate its scientists," Emad Abshenas, an Iranian political analyst and editor-in-chief of the Iran Press newspaper, told Sputnik Persian, commenting on Iran's sentencing to death of a so-called "Mossad agent" who was supposedly behind the killings of several top nuclear physicists.

    According to Abshenas, Iran is waging an information war with some countries, including Israel, while the Iranian special services "exercise strict control over those who are spying for Israel." The analyst underscored that "there are many people in Iran working for Israel and engaged in terrorist activities to undermine the national security of the country."

    Iranian Nuclear Physicists as Target

    The political analyst emphasized the importance of Iranian nuclear physicists for the country's atomic program. According to Abshenas, scientists and military technologies constitute the backbone of the country's military arsenal.

    The analyst recalled that having invaded Iraq and Libya the US first of all killed and kidnapped the countries' scientists: "Those who were ready to leave the country were sent to the US, and those who were not ready were liquidated," he said.

    "Although Iran has concluded a nuclear deal [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)], [the country] has not lost its technologies," Abshenas emphasized.

    Dr. Barhani, a political analyst specializing in Middle Eastern affairs, believes that Israel could have been behind the assassination of the Iranian nuclear physicists: "There have already been cases of Israel's involvement in killing scientists and they are not limited to Iran," he said referring to the fact that murders of nuclear scientists occurred in other countries, for instance, Egypt.

    Barhani revealed that "the countries of the region, including Iran, have a number of measures to 'reduce' Israel's threat."

    "One aspect is regional cooperation," the analyst explained. "The countries of the region have well experienced special services. Having established an exchange of information and coordinated their work, while using modern means of communication, they can better resist the influence of Israeli special services in the region."

    'It Cannot Be Said That Israel Liquidated Iranian Scientists'

    However, according to professor Vladimir Mesamed, a specialist on Iranian and Middle Eastern affairs at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "one cannot say that Israel liquidated [Iranian nuclear scientists]."

    "Israel has never denied or confirmed accusations of killing scientists who worked in the nuclear energy sphere," professor Mesamed told Sputnik. "Foreign mass media speculated a lot that all those who were killed 8-10 years ago, including professor of Tehran University Muhammadi and other scientists, had been the targets of Israel."

    It was alleged that Israel liquidated them because they were engaged in the development of Iran's nuclear program and therefore posed a threat to Tel Aviv, the academic noted.

    "[However], it can't be said that Israel eliminated them, or that there was some agent working for the [Israeli national intelligence agency of] Mossad, whom the Iranians found and want to hold responsible for everything that happened," professor Mesamed stressed.

    While Tel Aviv has always tried to hinder Iran's atomic program, it has never officially recognized its alleged involvement in the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientists, the Israeli academic underscored.

    On October 24, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced that the Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced to death a person who allegedly handed over the data of dozens of experts involved in the Iranian nuclear program to Mossad.

    "The person had several meetings with (Israeli intelligence agency) Mossad and provided them with sensitive information about Iran's military and nuclear sites in return for money and residency in Sweden," Dolatabadi said, as cited by Reuters, adding the alleged "Mossad agent" was involved in the assassination of about 30 nuclear and military scientists including Massoud Ali Mohammadi and nuclear engineer Majid Shahriari.

    According to the media outlet, at least four Iranian scientists were killed between 2010 and 2012. Iranian authorities hanged one man in 2012 charging him with the killings and citing his alleged links to Israel. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Iranian nuclear program, assassinations, scientists, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Mossad, Iran, Israel, United States, Russia, Middle East, Egypt
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