Iran's Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said Sunday that Darioush Rezaie, who was the target of an assassination in Tehran Saturday, was not connected to Iran's nuclear program.
In the first comment by an Iranian official on the subject, Moslehi said that it was still unclear whether Rezaie was assassinated by a foreign intelligence agency. He was quoted by Iran's ISNA news agency.
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Rezaie, 35, a university lecturer with a physics doctorate, was shot dead by a motorcyclist in Tehran on Saturday evening. He is believed to have been a nuclear scientist involved in the Islamic Republic's atom program.
Earlier Sunday, a senior Iranian official blamed the United States and Israel for the assassination.
"The murdered student did not work for the nuclear program and had nothing to do with it," Moslehi said.
As for the possible involvement of foreign agents, Moslehi – who head's Iran's counterintelligence activity – told reporters that "There are usually signs indicating as to the involvement of foreign intelligent agencies, but we have not seen them so far in this case.
"It is still unclear whether any intelligence service is behind the assassination," he said.
According to known details, Rezaie was shot in front of his wife and young daughter, who they were taking to school. His wife was lightly hurt as well, but was released from the hospital in time to attend Rezaie's funeral.
The funeral was devoid the presence of any high ranking Iranian officials, a fact that reinforces assumption that Rezaie did not play any part in Iran's nuclear program.
Moslehi told reporters that the assassination only bolster's Iran's determination vis-à-vis "the enemy."
Two hundred MPs out of Iran's 290 members of parliament signed a statement denouncing the hit as a "cowardly act."
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