Khamenei: Iran to punish those behind scientist murder

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 12, 2012 3:29 PM
Khamenei: Iran to punish those behind scientist murder

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Thursday that those behind the killing of a nuclear scientist in Tehran would be punished, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"We will continue our path with strong will ... and certainly we will not neglect punishing those responsible for this act and those behind it," Khamenei was quoted as saying.

Iran blamed its arch-enemies, Israel and the United States, for a blast which killed the nuclear scientist in his car on Wednesday, insisting the incident would not change the country's nuclear course.

"This cowardly terror ... has been designed or helped by the intelligence services of CIA and Mossad and shows that the arrogant powers have reached a dead end in the face of the strong Iranian nation," Khamenei added, according to IRNA.

Iran is at odds with Washington and its allies over Tehran's disputed nuclear program which the West says is aimed at producing weapons. Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes only.

The fifth daylight attack on technical experts in two years, the magnetic bomb delivered a targeted blast to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan's car during Wednesday's morning rush-hour.

The killing, which left debris hanging in trees and body parts on the road, came in a week of heightened tension:

Iran has started an underground uranium enrichment plant and sentenced an American to death for spying; Washington and Europe have stepped up efforts to cripple Iran's oil exports for its refusal to halt work that the West says betrays an ambition to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its aims are entirely peaceful.

Tehran has threatened to choke the West's supply of Gulf oil if its exports are hit by sanctions, drawing a U.S. warning that its navy was ready to open fire to prevent any blockade of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which 35 percent of the world's seaborne traded oil passes.

(Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Louise Ireland)