US denies role in Iranian scientist's death

2012-01-12 08:34
Washington - The United States denied any role in Wednesday's killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist, the latest in a series of events that have exacerbated tensions with Iran.

The assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was the latest in a year that has already seen new US economic sanctions, threats to bar American ships from the Persian Gulf, an Iranian death sentence to a jailed US citizen and an escalation in Tehran's uranium enrichment program.

Iranian reports said two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to Roshan's car, killing him and his driver. Roshan was a chemistry expert and director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, and the slaying suggested a widening covert effort to set back the Islamic republic's atomic program.

But US officials said they had nothing to do with it.

"I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters.

 "We believe there has to be an understanding between Iran, its neighbours and the international community that finds a way forward for it to end its provocative behaviour, end its search for nuclear weapons and rejoin the international community and be a productive member of it."

Earlier, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland wouldn't answer a question about whether Washington was involved in the killing — or if the administration viewed Roshan as an innocent victim. "I'm not going to speak to who may or may not have done this," she told reporters.

The attack also came one day after Israeli military chief Lieutenant  General Benny Gantz was quoted as telling a parliamentary committee that 2012 would be critical for Iran — in part because of "things that happen to it unnaturally".

And other Israeli officials, hinted at covert campaigns against Iran without directly admitting involvement.

"Many bad things have been happening to Iran in the recent period," said Mickey Segal, a former director of the Israeli military's Iranian intelligence department. "Iran is in a situation where pressure on it is mounting, and the latest assassination joins the pressure that the Iranian regime is facing."

Iranian authorities blamed Israel.

One former official said the magnetic-bomb attack does bear the hallmarks of an Israeli hit. Current and former US officials say Washington prefers proxies like Israel to carry out operations inside Iran, and that up until two years ago, the US and Israel coordinated actions against Iran closely. But the officials say the White House halted such cooperation after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power.

The officials, past and present, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic negotiations.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    us  |  iran  |  nuclear
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Du Preez key to Boks' success
Cheika taking it one game at a time
Cotter: 'No beer bribe for Samoa'
England lost trying to copy All Blacks
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.