How Israel Tried to Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Program: Assassinate the Scientists

    Sebastien Roblin

    Security, Middle East

    Did it work? 

    Approaching eight o’clock on the morning of January 12, 2010 Professor Massoud Alimohammadi walked to his car parked next to his house in North Tehran, passing a small motorbike on the side of the road. The fifty-one-year-old elementary particle physicist was a leading Iranian theorist on quantum-field states, and known to his friends as a political moderate.

    As the professor’s open his car door, the person who had been observing him pressed a button on a remote control. The bike suddenly exploded with such force that all the windows on Masoud’s four-story apartment building were shattered. Massoud was killed instantly, and two nearby bystanders injured. The triggerman, ostensibly a man named Arash Kerhadkish, strolled over to a car waiting nearby and was driven away.

    Initially, some speculated that Iranian hardliners sanctioned the killing of a reformist professor. However, anonymous Iranian and Western intelligence sources eventually told a different story: the professor was an important figure in a nuclear-research program run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

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    Nine months later, on the morning of November 29, a quantum physicist named Majid Shahriari was driving through Tehran with his wife, Dr. Bejhat Ghasemi, in the passenger seat when several motorbikes road up beside him near Artesh Boulevard. While one rider hemmed in Shahriari’s car, another rider (believed to be Arash Kerhadkish), attached a package of C4 explosive to the door beside Shahriari, then drove back and triggered a detonator. The explosion killed Shahriari, injured his wife and colleague, and even knocked over one of the motorbike-mounted hitmen, wounding the hitman.

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