Tehran blames CIA for scientist murder

Tehran blames CIA for scientist murder

Tehran blames CIA for scientist murder

Iranian President Ahmadinejad (L) talked with Cuban leader Castro (R) in Havana last week. Iran says it has evidence the CIA is behind the scientist assassination. AP photo

Iran said Jan. 14 it has evidence the United States was behind the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, state media reported.

The official IRNA state news agency said Jan. 14 that Iran’s Foreign Ministry has sent a diplomatic letter to the U.S. saying it has “evidence and reliable information” that the CIA provided “guidance, support and planning” to assassins “directly involved” in Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s killing. Iran delivered the letter to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which looks after U.S. interests in the country. Iran and the U.S. have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Roshan was killed in a broad daylight assassination Jan. 11 when two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car in the Iranian capital. The U.S. has denied any role in the assassination. IRNA also reported that Iran delivered a letter to Britain accusing London of having an “obvious role” in the killing. It said that a series of assassinations began after British intelligence Chief John Sawers hinted in 2010 at intelligence operations against the Islamic republic. British media have quoted Sawers as saying that intelligence-led operations were needed to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Top US Army official to visit Israel

Amid the ongoing tension, Israeli officials said the U.S. military’s top officer will make his first official visit to Israel on Jan. 19. The visit by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey comes at a time of growing American concern that Israel may be preparing to attack Iran. Israel’s Defense Ministry yesterday confirmed the scheduled visit. It gave no further details, but Iran is likely to top the agenda. Last week, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the Iran situation in a telephone conversation.

Meanwhile, Israel and the United States have agreed to postpone a major joint military drill scheduled for spring, Israeli public radio reported yesterday, saying budgetary constraints were behind the delay. The radio, citing military sources, reported that the exercises, codenamed “Austere Challenge 12,” would be pushed back to the end of 2012.