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Who murdered Prof. Ali-Mohammadi?

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

13 Jan 2010 07:0953 Comments
39_881022_L600.jpgDr. Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, a professor of physics at the University of Tehran, was assassinated in front of his home in northern Tehran on Tuesday. Reports indicate that a motorcycle parked next to his car held a bomb that was set off by a remote control device. There are, however, other reports suggesting that the motorcycle had been there for the past three days.

State media, including the Islamic Republic News Agency and Fars immediately declared that Professor Ali-Mohammadi was a nuclear physicist and a supporter of Velayat-e Faghih [guardianship of the Islamic jurist, represented by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], and blamed Israel, the United States, and "their lackeys" for orchestrating the assassination. However, friends, colleagues, former and current students quickly refuted the charge, stating that the professor's views had changed fundamentally, and that he was a supporter of the reformists.

Who was Ali-Mohammadi?

Masoud Ali-Mohammadi was born on August 24, 1959. He was admitted to Shiraz University in southern Iran in the fall of 1978 and majored in physics. In 1985, he was admitted to a graduate program in physics at Sharif University of Technology, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in Iran. After receiving his M.S. degree in physics, he was admitted to the doctoral program in physics. In 1992 Sharif University granted its first Ph.D. degree in physics to Dr. Ali-Mohammadi. He then joined the faculty of the University of Tehran as an assistant professor in physics and was eventually promoted to full professor there. He was the deputy chair of the faculty of science for research, a committee member of the Faculty of Sciences, and a member of the academic promotion team of the University of Tehran. Last July, he was one of Iran's two representatives to the Synchrotron Radiation Center for Research and Applied Science in the Middle East in Jordan.

Professor Ali-Mohammadi's general area of research was theoretical and mathematical physics, but his areas of interest were very broad and varied. According to Dr. Hesamoddin Arfaei, his Ph.D. thesis adviser at Sharif University, Professor Ali- Mohammadi's research included particle physics; he taught classical and quantum physics.

Professor Ali-Mohammadi wrote several books and authored 80 scientific papers published in recognized science journals. He also participated in a summer school program in high energy physics at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. For four years he was also a non-resident research fellow at the Institute for Physics and Mathematics in Tehran.

Professor Ali-Mohammadi was a pious Muslim. He supported the Iranian Revolution of 1979. When he was at Shiraz University, he worked with the Muslim Student Association, which at the time was a pro-government student organization. Dr. Ahmad Shirzad, a professor of nuclear physics at Isfahan University and a classmate of Professor Ali-Mohammadi, said that in the 1980s and 1990s he was a moderate Muslim. According to Dr. Shirzad, Professor Ali-Mohammadi was neither a right-wing reactionary in the conservative camp, nor a reformist supporter in that period. At the University of Tehran he had a reputation for being an honest and kind person who never tried to ingratiate himself with the right-wing centers of power.

In the past few years, however, his political views changed. According to several reports, he had said that he voted for the reformists in the elections for the 8th Majles (parliament) in 2008, and he had supported the reformists again in the in fall 2006 elections for Tehran's city council. More recently, he was one of 240 academics who signed a declaration of support for Mir Hossein Mousavi before the June 12 election.

A former student of his said that on June 15 (when the huge demonstrations against the rigged presidential election of June 12 broke out) he was at the gathering of the members of the Muslim Student Association of the Faculty of Sciences. At that time, someone from Mousavi's headquarters had called to caution them that security forces had orders to shoot demonstrators, if necessary. He said that Professor Ali-Mohammadi told him, "Young man, do not be scared. We must resist them [the hardliners]. A bullet hurts only at the beginning." According to this student, Professor Ali-Mohammadi then arranged for a bus to take him and many of his students to the demonstrations.

According to a statement that was issued by a group of physics students at the University of Tehran, Professor Ali-Mohammadi was one of the leading academics who stormed the University Chancellor's office to demand an investigation into the June 15 attack on the university when several students were murdered and many more were injured.

Several other students have stated that Professor Ali-Mohammadi had organized debates on the national crisis at the University of Tehran. He had apparently told his students that "they" [the hardliners] had ordered him to put an end to such activities, but that he was going to press on despite their demands. The last of such debates had occurred on January 5, in which he had urged students to come up with a scientific and practical solution to the Iranian crisis. All of his speeches have reportedly been recorded and can be used as evidence to refute the hardliner's propaganda that he was one of them.

A source in Tehran told the author that Professor Ali-Mohammadi had worked with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on several projects in the past. This source said that given Professor Ali-Mohammadi's extensive knowledge of the IRGC's activities and his recent new-found support for the reformists and Mousavi would have made him a potential target for the IRGC.

Rah-e Sabz, the pro-Green Movement Web site, reported that Professor Ali-Mohammadi had participated in several defense projects, as well as projects linked with Iran's nuclear program, and apparently had extensive information about Iran's military and nuclear program.

Who benefits?

The hardliners have accused Israel, the U.S., and an obscure monarchist group for the assassination. The monarchist group rejected the accusation. In fact, it's highly unlikely that any opposition group carried out his murder. The hardliners may have hoped to distract people by claiming that the assassination was the work of the "enemy," therefore shifting their attention away from the more colossal problems facing the country.

There is also precedence for the assassination of leading figures in Iran's nuclear program and missile industry. In July 2001, Col. Ali Mahmoudi Mimand, known as the father of Iran's missile program, was found dead in his office; he had been shot in the head. Dr. Ardeshir Hassanpour, a prominent and award-winning figure in Iran's nuclear program, was murdered on January 15, 2007. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel's Mossad had murdered Dr. Hassanpour.

In fact, Professor Ali-Mohammadi went to Jordan last summer as Iran's representative to the Synchrotron Radiation Center, an atomic research center undoubtedly on the Israeli's radar. Unlike Ali-Mohammadi however, the other two who were assassinated were leading Iran's efforts in important areas. But Professor Ali- Mohammadi was apparently not involved with Iran's nuclear program at all. His research was in the general area of particle physics, which is of a fundamental, rather than practical nature. He was also not affiliated with the IRGC-controlled universities, namely Malek-e Ashtar and Emam Hossein universities. Ali Shirzadian, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, denied that Professor Ali-Mohammadi was under contract there.

In addition, engineers are leading Iran's nuclear program, not nuclear physicists. It is the engineers and materials scientists who improve the design centrifuges for Iran's uranium enrichment program. It is also the engineers who design the underground enrichment centers.

Because it is likely that Professor Ali-Mohammadi was well informed about many IRGC projects, and a prominent academic supporter of the reformists and the Green Movement, his murder would send a message to others, particularly academics. If the hardliners were behind the murder, it would be a signal that they have started a campaign of assassination to silence the opposition.

Another characteristic of the hardliners is that they never forgive anyone who deserts them and joins the opposition. The deserters are usually dealt with much more harshly than bona fide members of the opposition. This only adds to the suspicion that the hardliners may have had something to do with Professor Ali-Mohammadi's murder.

There is one unusual aspect about the assassination. Almost all the political assassinations in Iran over the past two decades have been carried out by one of two methods. In one, the assassin directly shoots at the victim. Examples include Dr. Saeed Hajjarian, the leading reformist strategist who was the target of an assassination attempt in March 2000; Lieutenant General Ali Sayyad Shirazi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, who was assassinated in 1999; and Habibollah Ladjevardi, known as the "butcher of Evin" [Tehran's notorious prison], who was killed in September 1998. In the second method, the victim is kidnapped and killed secretly. Well-known examples of the latter include some of the victims of the infamous Chain Murders of the fall of 1998.

In Professor Ali-Mohammadi's case, the method was more similar to assassinations in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, or Afghanistan. That complicates the case; but then again, it may have been a deliberate tactic used to make it easier to point the finger elsewhere.

If the assassination signals a new campaign by the hardliners, Iran may be moving toward becoming a second Pakistan, where the military and intelligence services eliminate the opposition with impunity and make the country even more unstable than it already is.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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53 Comments

Iran's news media and press are notorious for getting technical details wrong. For example, their reporting on military subjects is often frustrating to read, with photos of convenience inserted that often times do not accurately represent the subject being depicted. Getting certain details wrong about the nature of this scientist's work in physics is, in itself, hardly surprising. Moreover, I've yet to see Iran's media or press ever issue a technical clarification.

Right now, pointing fingers of blame is largely a game of conjecture. Examining the results of a law enforcement investigation are the next step in analyzing what possibly took place here, and what party or parties are suspect in planning and carrying it out.

Pirouz / January 13, 2010 9:49 AM

In the previous cases of Iranian scientist getting murdered or abducted, it took months for the world to learn about it.It took months for IRAN's government to acknowledge that these events took place. Therefore, I can't understand why they killed this professor by a BOMB in a residential area early morning in Tehran. Doesn't make sense, does it?

Amin / January 13, 2010 10:16 AM

My prayers go out to his family and friends. May God take them to heart.

Peg / January 13, 2010 11:16 AM

This article is nothing more but yet another conjecture. There isn't anything in this article that can be taken seriously as the author tries to link highly different instances of assassinations and murders to this one. It seems that the media focused on Iran cannot get enough of their own propagandist methods and they jump on and write about every story coming out of Iran with a conspiratory style that definitely cannot be equated to journalism but rather Foxism (from Fox News). This is not say that the hardliners in Iran are benevolent saints, because they are not.

Safe / January 13, 2010 2:57 PM

The method was chosen to be the most attention-getting. This is another shameful episode in Khameneis bid to become a latter-day 'old man of the mountain'.For many years, since the assassination attempt on him, he has been quietly following his penchant for killing.Shades of past dictators. A white tabby cat with blood-stained paws.

Pirooz / January 13, 2010 3:06 PM

GOOD JOB

Anonymous / January 13, 2010 3:52 PM

Highly accurate and professional analysis, thank you very much Dear Professor Sahimi;

Last summer, I saw professor Alimohammadi, at Sharif U of Technology, we had a discussion about Mathematical physics, he was really kind and informed in theoretical physics .

I think his assassination, as you said, is just a new tactic for hardliners to lessen internal critics. they accused other countries, Israel, USA, UK, as the supporters of this murder, and they think in this way they can unify people.

TO MASOOD:
Our hearts are saddened by your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

http://media.ucdailynews.com/images/funeral-flowers.jpg

HD / January 13, 2010 4:18 PM

Whether Mossad or the CIA did this is irrelevant. This is “The Quiet American” escalated to the 21st century GWOT supposed fear-mongering --- instead of ‘communism’.

Like JFK when he knew that the 'national security state', the “shadow government”, the "Secret Team" (as Fletcher Prouty calls them), or the ruling-elite Global corporate/financial/militarist Empire (as I call it) was conspiring and moving toward war at this advanced level, Obama must stand-up and confront this death-spiraling situation.

JFK knew that he had been set-up and put "in a fix" as Curtis LeMay (CIA) actually verbally confronted him in the White House about the Cuban Missile Crisis (after the CIA pressure to employ US forces in the Bay of Pigs).

Obama, has now been pressured several times and put “in a fix” by the CIA generals and the deceitful media leaks by the MIC/Empire through the 'good offices' of the senior uniformed 'regular' military leadership --- you know, the ones like Adm. Mullen, Gen. Petraeus, and Gen. McChrystal, who are 'regular' CIA also --- and are pushing hard toward broad M.E. and Central Asian war (even though it will 'end badly', if ending in nuclear war is 'ending badly').

Obama is reaching his JFK crisis turning point, his Truman turning point with McArthur in using Korea to launch war on mainland China, his Eisenhower turning point with the MIC.

Obama knows that he is being ‘gamed’ and put “in a fix” by the militarist Empire behind the superficially ‘democratic’ two-party ‘Vichy’ government and equally ‘Vichy’ media (which is pushing hard now for global war, under the guise of antiterrorism --- all the while pushing ‘fear’ to roll both the US people and Obama).

Obama, knowing this, put a ‘shot across the bow’ of the global corporate/financial/militarist Empire during his Nobel address by quoting JFK’s American University 6/22/63 speech --- which was JFK’s first fully PUBLIC shot at the Empire after working only behind the scenes to press the Empire on the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile crisis ‘set-ups’ for global war.

Obama must now, even more publicly tell the American people that he is being railroaded toward war and so are we. He must expose and confront the Empire that he has only been dueling with in the dark. He must fight it in the light and with the help and support of the American people (except, of course, those ruling-elite behind the Empire)

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Alan MacDonald / January 13, 2010 6:36 PM

This professor was
by Cost-of-Progress on Wed Jan 13, 2010 05:59 AM PST


trying to leave Iran and had inquired about a grant from Sweden to go and reaserch there for a year at the university. He would not have returned had he been able to leave the country.

All those who claim that he was not a nuclear scientist are either misinformed or are trying to misinform.

The murderer regime killed this guy to teach a lesson to the Iranian scientific community and to keep him from defecting. Yet another name added to the long list of murders and atrocities committed by this criminal regime

dfd / January 13, 2010 6:40 PM

Dear Dr. Sahimi,

I enjoyed your analysis! However, I would suggest that you may have missed at least one other obvious motive. Although you came close to it in your last line:

"If the assassination signals a new campaign by the hardliners, Iran may be moving toward becoming a second Pakistan, where the military and intelligence services eliminate the opposition with impunity and make the country even more unstable than it already is."

You may note that some (but not all) aspects of the current instability in (for example) Pakistan is deliberately caused by foreign mercenaries and intelligence services (Xe/Blackwater, CIA). This notion has been strengthened by reports of Xe operations and the recent revelations of joint CIA/Xe activity on the Pakistani border. Therefore, it seems to me that an obvious extension to include in your article could have been:

If the assassination signals a new campaign by foreign intelligence services, Iran may be moving toward becoming a second Pakistan, where the foreign intelligence services eliminate important figures with impunity in order to wreak havoc and make the country even more unstable than it already is in order to achieve their ultimate goals of bringing down the regime.

Implicating foreign or foreign-inspired actors has clear historical precedence in declassified documents that describe operations ranging from central and south America to south Asia.

For the sake of ordinary Iranians, one would hope that rational and reflective Iranians in Iran would opt for and promote political and social reform from within rather than chaos from without.

Regards,

Jay / January 13, 2010 6:46 PM

Dear Dr. Sahimi,

I enjoyed your analysis! However, I would suggest that you may have missed at least one other obvious motive. Although you came close to it in your last line:

"If the assassination signals a new campaign by the hardliners, Iran may be moving toward becoming a second Pakistan, where the military and intelligence services eliminate the opposition with impunity and make the country even more unstable than it already is."

You may note that some (but not all) aspects of the current instability in (for example) Pakistan is deliberately caused by foreign mercenaries and intelligence services (Xe/Blackwater, CIA). This notion has been strengthened by reports of Xe operations and the recent revelations of joint CIA/Xe activity on the Pakistani border. Therefore, it seems to me that an obvious extension to include in your article could have been:

If the assassination signals a new campaign by foreign intelligence services, Iran may be moving toward becoming a second Pakistan, where the foreign intelligence services eliminate important figures with impunity in order to wreak havoc and make the country even more unstable than it already is in order to achieve their ultimate goals of bringing down the regime.

Implicating foreign or foreign-inspired actors has clear historical precedence in declassified documents that describe operations ranging from central and south America to south Asia.

For the sake of ordinary Iranians, one would hope that rational and reflective Iranians in Iran would opt for and promote political and social reform from within rather than chaos from without.

Regards,

Jay / January 13, 2010 6:47 PM

Dr. Sahimi: Leverette is trying to discredit the green movement. He is either a neocon or an IRI propagandist.

New America Foundation/Iran Initiative Director and Race for Iran Publisher Flynt Leverett appeared on World Focus last night to discuss the assassination of Masoud Ali Mohammadi, an Iranian nuclear physics professor.

Leverett began by saying that it is highly unlikely that the United States was directly involved in the assassination.
http://www.raceforiran.com/flynt-leverett-on-world-focus-discusses-the-assassination-of-masoud-ali-mohammadi/comment-page-1#comment-2305

He should be taken to task.He is up to no good for Iran and Iranians.

sdfjd / January 13, 2010 6:51 PM

Dr. Sahimi, although I don't have your faith in green movement I have always respected you deeply for many reasons including your objectivity.
I think you are loosing that objectivity, and you are starting to see things only through the greens. Fanatic hardliners lie and we both know that, but greens also lie and minimally many of them have become opportunists and Machiavellianists (as you even pointed that out in your last article).
If you think greens have been immune to the issues that MKO had/has, you are wrong ..., and speaking of MKO, and lack of objectivity, look at the following link in which MKO connects Mohammadi to Iranian nuclear program (2004):
http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/NCRI/perspex-ncri-militarynuclear-042804.htm

Israelis/MKO/Monarchists/.. could have killed him if they went by that info.


kharmagass / January 13, 2010 6:57 PM

Thanks for following this! This story flared up and, hopefully, will be followed by bigger news outlets in the weeks to come. Chances are, though, that most people will have to rely on more Iran-specific news outlets like your own.

Thanks again!

Andrew / January 14, 2010 1:04 AM


Dear Dr. Sahimi,

This might be unrelated to the article, but, as part of examples of political assassination in Iran, you mention Habibollah Ladjevardi's killing in Septerm 1998. Are you saying he was also assassinated by the hardliners or the Iranian intelligence services. If so why would that be? Wouldn't oppostion have a greater motivation to remove him because of his past crimes against political prisoners? I would appreciate if you shed some light on the subject.

Kia / January 14, 2010 2:33 AM

Speculation. All of this. Blah blah blah. On the other hand we do have FACTS to speak of:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/4640052/Israel-launches-covert-war-against-Iran.html


(Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran's nuclear programme, US intelligence sources have revealed. The most dramatic element of the "decapitation" programme is the planned assassination of top figures involved in Iran's atomic operations.)


So there you have it. Western intel agents reveal that Israel has covert ops to assasinate Iranian scientists. Yet this USC professor sits here and tells us how the government did it themselves. Stop the conspiracies.

Speculation / January 14, 2010 3:41 AM

It is difficult to comment effectively, but it is prescient to ask the Iranian government if it want's to blame America or Israel to provide reasonable evidence and not just words.
This is what they demand when the West generally accuses them of working to making a Nuclear Bomb.
If they have inadequate evidence they must do what they demand of the west shut up with Politically motivated gossip and spin, until there is proof.
Having said that someone of his standing and as the article says being a "pious muslim" of " moderate beliefs" and whose research or Doctoral work was not in the mainstream of nuclear bombs seems to be an unlikely candidate for American or Israeli targeting.
What I find interesting is the Lack of facts about the Motorcycle owner, the type of explosive as this is often specifically traceable along with detonator types.
This kind of forensic would point somewhere, but unlikely ever to be available to the West!!
QED what, who, when, and why is pure speculation and politics unfortunately.
Regards,
Hodgson.
Regards,
Hodgson

J.V.Hodgson / January 14, 2010 9:53 AM

let u talk about the CIA and US terror actions.

Jim / January 14, 2010 2:37 PM

Deadly fighting between the Rafsanjani (Banks, Bazar, private industry) and the IRGC (Military, Land, Oil) mafias will take down a lot of innocent bystanders. Very ugly scenes to come.

The real question is: Where is the third apex of the typical gangland triangle? Is it in Iran? Is it a dynamic one which switches sides, between the first two, based on some intricate calculations (like the police in US ganglands, Chicago, Boston, NYC, LA, SFO, Houston,... which serve anyone they think is the current "family".

Martin Scorces for president.

At least he can make the blood look like fun, and take humanity out of the money battles.

nassim sabba / January 14, 2010 5:36 PM

Nice of you not to publish my comment. I see you really live up to what you preach - that is DEMOCRACY, human rights and FREEDOM OF SPEECH. No damn difference between individuals like you and the Islamic Republic which you so much despise - you are but the other side of the same intolerant and manipulate coin.

Safe / January 14, 2010 9:30 PM


Dear Dr. Sahimi,

This might be unrelated to the article, but, as part of examples of political assassination in Iran, you mention Habibollah Ladjevardi's killing in Septerm 1998. Are you saying he was also assassinated by the hardliners or the Iranian intelligence services. If so why would that be? Wouldn't oppostion have a greater motivation to remove him because of his past crimes against political prisoners? I would appreciate if you shed some light on the subject.

Kia / January 14, 2010 11:02 PM


Despite media hype, lets be clear that Mr. Ali-Mohamadi was NOT a nuclear scientist involved with the regime of Iran's nuclear program.

As to who is most likely to have carried out the terror attack, ther than a high rate of probability that points the finger to the regime of Iran, circumstantial evidence points to an Iranian dissident organization that operates out of a base in Britain, with terror camps in Iraq.
Mojahedeen-E-Khalgh Organization, also known as :

MKO
National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA)
People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI)
National Council of Resistance (NCR)
National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
Muslim Iranian Student's Society

... is the largest and most militant group opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Also known as the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, MEK is led by husband and wife Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. MEK was added to the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups in 1997.

MEK was founded in the 1960s by a group of college-educated Iranian leftists opposed to the country’s pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Although the group took part in the 1979 Islamic revolution that replaced the shah with a Shiite Islamist regime, MEK’s ideology, a blend of Marxism and Islamism, put it at odds with the postrevolutionary government. In 1981, the group was driven from its bases on the Iran-Iraq border and resettled in Paris, where it began supporting Iraq in its eight-year war against Khomeini’s Iran. In 1986, MEK moved its headquarters to Iraq where it received its primary support to attack the regime in Iran. During the 2003 Iraq war, U.S. forces cracked down on MEK’s bases in Iraq, and in June 2003 French authorities raided an MEK compound outside Paris and arrested 160 people, including Maryam Rajavi.

MKO is the most likely candidate other than the regime itself, benefiting from an atmosphere of mayhem and fear in today's atmosphere of hightened repression in Iran.

Majid Patterson / January 15, 2010 1:27 AM

Late Mr. Ali-Mohammadi looks like a "hostile Iranian nuclear scientist" in that photo, doesn't he?!

Siamak In NYC / January 15, 2010 1:33 AM

It isn't hard to predict that neo-con Frontline will ascribe blame to Iranian hardliners, and completely ignore the much more likely probability that he was murdered (in a "meticulous" bomb blast - sound familiar?) by Mossad and/or the CIA.

So how many wars does Frontline want the US to be involved in - they already helped push us into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with lies about WMD that never existed. Iran is next on the neo-con agenda, huh?

Gene / January 15, 2010 3:02 AM

To stir the pot, here is another vector to consider: the killer of the CIA agents in Afghanistan was supposedly a double (triple?) agent recruited by the intelligence service of Jordan, the same country hosting the Radiation Center visited by Professor Ali. It would be interesting to check connections between that suicide bomber and Professor Ali... were they ever in Jordan at the same time? Were they operatives of the same service? And which service would that be, since the bomber who killed the CIA agents was connected to several!

This would be the substance of a dozen spy novels if it were not so deadly real.... the Jordanian connection.

It is indeed sad that evil can take so many forms in our world. I often remark that no loving God would have created hell; He would simply give the demons an earth to walk on and they would create hell for each other.

KarlQ / January 15, 2010 8:25 AM

As always, an insightful analysis by Dr. Sahimi. We are all indebted to him.

Ostaad, dast marizaad!

P. Avesta / January 15, 2010 10:24 AM

The facts to the matter are satisfactorily objective. This is comforting in that, at best, it eliminates speculative imaginations of the unknown. It is clear, from the facts presented, that one is indeed left with the prerogative to draw autonomous conclusions on "Who Murdered Prof. Ali-Mohammadi?," with the Hardliners, Reformers, Israelis, and the Americans tied ambiguously to the potential guilty plea of "murder."

Having said that, it's imperative that one be mindful that essentially, only Prof. Ali-Mohammadi himself, his family, friends, and perhaps, his alleged closest reformist cohorts, by virtue of their closeness to Dr. Mohammadi, could provide the most definitive virtually non-speculative answers to the uncertainties surrounding the death of Prof. Ali-Mohammadi.

Thus, my ultimate answer to the question posed weighs heavily on the reality that, when compared to those closest to Dr. Mohammadi, my judgments of the facts are speculative, informed, but grossly speculative. So, who killed Prof. Ali-Mohammadi? Only Allah-God truly knows, but my informed guess, based on the facts presented is that the Israelis were responsible for the death of Prof. Ali-Mohammadi, with the full support and approval of the Americans.

The reason for my answer is that had their been any imminent threat posed to Prof. Ali-Mohammadi from the Headliners as alleged, Prof. Ali-Mohammadi himself would have been aware of it, been threatened by it, documented it, informed his family of it, hinted it to his alleged Reformist cohorts, ultimately, there would be no reason to speculative on the source of his death. Hence, it would be logical for my judgment to hold credence because when the intelligence community engages in covert activity, Israeli or American, the activities are what the word says they are, "covert," hence the concealment of the truth in this inquiry.

Miracle Obeta / January 15, 2010 10:38 AM

This looks like a follow up attempt by the regime to cause confusion and divert attention among the the people and at the same time create division within the opposition to the regime. The regime other attempt was the pathetic portrayal of Neda's murder and assigning blame to the opposition.

It shows that the regime is desperate. On the one hand it is facing mounting protests by the people who are no longer protesting the election results, but now demand freedom, human rights and democracy. On the other hand, it is faced with increasing dissension and now defections amongst its ranks.

Iran is not Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon or the Sheikdoms, all of which are artificial states, created in the last century, with no real sense of broader nationality and common values.

The regime may well try more of these tactics in future, but they will have the opposite effect.

Maziar Irani / January 15, 2010 11:34 PM

The way IR handled Ali_mohammadi's funeral and family tells all who commited the murder.

read accts of his funeral by one of his friends. (FARSI)

http://www.hammihannews.com/news/8527

Ahvaz / January 16, 2010 2:14 AM

We can just speculate from abroad: CIA, Mossad, MKO, Monarchist, etc. But his students, friends, family and coworkers who knew him personally know EXACTLY who did this.

What happens when your loved-one's murderer conducts his funeral?

http://www.hammihannews.com/news/8527

I feel so sorry for his family. Their pain and anguish must be unimaginable.

ahvaz / January 16, 2010 3:23 AM

Mr. Maziar Irani,
I like to thank you for a very accurate analysis.

Niloofar / January 16, 2010 5:11 AM

Safe:

I did not conjecture anything. I did not even say that the hardliners killed Professor Ali-Mohammadi. I just brought up all the facts, all received from Tehran. In my view, the probability that Israel murdered him is small, but not zero. In my opinion, the most likely culprit is rogue elements within Iran's security/apparatus.

dfd:

My scientific research is partly in physics and applied physics areas (more than half of my scientific papers have been published in physics journals). I have looked at many of Professor Ali-Mohammadi's papers. None has to do with anything that can be used in Iran's nuclear program. The science of a nuclear program of the type Iran has has been known for 60 years. It is the engineering aspect that is difficult.

Two sources have told me that he was going on a sabbatical leave for one year. Did that contribute to his demise? I do not know.

sdfjd:

I am aware of Leverett's position. Thank you in any case. In my opinion, he is extremely ill informed.

Kharmagas:

I always respect your opinion, and read it carefully. The information that you point to I was not aware of. Only after the article was posted, I became aware of it. I actually mentioned it in a comment that I left on another site.

That is why I believe that the probability that Israel killed him due to the mistake by MKO (for identifying him as a leading member of Iran's nuclear program) and the fact that he went to Jordan last summer is not zero. It is possible.

Kia:

Asadollah (not Habibollah, my mistake) was claimed to have been assassinated by the MKO. But, I believe that it is more likely that he was murdered by the intelligence community in Iran, because he was simply a terrible stain at the height of President Khatami's presidency in 1998. I say this because of the way he was killed, which makes no sense to me to have been committed by the MKO.

Gene:

TB is not pro-war; in fact, it is strongly against war, and is against interference in any country's internal affairs. Respectfully, I do not know what you are talking about.


Muhammad Sahimi / January 16, 2010 6:26 AM

A regime that hijacked power in Iran through terror tactics, is a regime that has maintained power through terror tactics, and it will be a regime that will use every terror tactic to survive.

Elementary Watson!

Siamak In NYC / January 16, 2010 5:48 PM

Iran counterintelligence failed to detect mossad activity in iran

Randy / January 17, 2010 9:27 AM

YOU CAN TELL A LIE TO SOMEONE FOR SOMETIMES
BUT YOU CAN NEVER TELL A LIE TO EVERYBODY FOR EVER

HD / January 17, 2010 1:51 PM

Communication at the top of state institutions and state organs seems to be rather suggestive and intimately intransparent. Thus decision-making processes and structures of responsibility are hard – if at all - to follow, to recognize, to see through, to understand and are scant.
The wraithlike functioning of the respective entourage and the wraithlike functioning of the style of the exercise of power of high-ranking politicians and clerics or of politicians and clerics assumed to be high-ranking.
Terroristic loss of reality and a nearly complete relinquishment of humane reason in favour of anticipatory and pro-active identification with the presumed will of the respective leading figures
This muddle and mess of a system of organized irresponsibility is the breeding ground of (state-induced?) assassinations

Publicola / January 17, 2010 9:17 PM

Islam murdered Prof. Ali-Mohammadi.
The rumor has it he was a Hezbollahi who, later sided with Mir Hossien. The regime got back at him by killing him.

gooya / January 18, 2010 8:50 AM

It is utterly absurd to claim that Islam killed Professor Ali-Mohammadi. He himself was a pious, devout Muslim. The Muslim people of Iran have suffered most at the hands of the hardliners in Iran. Very few of the tens of thousands of the people who have been executed in Iran over the past 30 years were non-Muslim, and non-practicing Muslims for that matter.

If Professor Ali-Mohammadi was killed by the hardliners, the reason was not Islam, but his devotion to democracy, as he himself was a practicing Muslim. The hardliners' problem with people like Professor Ali-Mohammadi is that, they see them as obtacle to their control of power and wealth. It has nothing to do with Islam, even if they commit their crime under Islam's name. One must be living in a parallel universe not to see this.

If he was killed by outsiders, such as Israel, then the reason was to eliminate a distinguished scientific figure from a Muslim nation.

Some people's mission in life seems to be poisoning the atmosphere in order to advance their ideology, if their thinking can be called as such. What is the difference between such people and Pat Robertson who has claimed that the people of Haiti suffered because they had a pact with devil, and between them and the late Jerry Falwel and Robertson who claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened because of all the sins that the American people committed? Nothing!

Muhammad Sahimi / January 18, 2010 10:32 PM

Sahimi Says:
?????????Some people's mission in life seems to be poisoning the atmosphere in order to advance their ideology,??????????

I agree. and needless to say that Islamists are the worst culprits. Islam entered the political arena as a religion and the mayhem has not stopped for over 1400 years.

It is like the inmates have been running the asylum, and they are not going to go away easily.

It is therefore essential that the ongoing annexation of Iran continues for an indefinite period of time.

Siamak In NYC / January 19, 2010 1:51 AM

one person commenting under a wide variety of names.

Muhammad Sahimi / January 19, 2010 2:45 AM

well spoken dr sahimi. the problem that opposition in Iran which is led by pious, devout Muslim figures and they are doing their best to seek change from within is that they have to face extreme elements from within the faith and from without. Those from without usually have a superficial or poor understanding of Islam and the rich diversity within it and like their Muslim counterparts waste no time in putting the blame on that which they hated in the first place based mostly on ignorance and false perceptions Ditto with the Muslim extremists whose hatred of all things Western and secular makes them blind to some of the good things that exist. But Dr Sahimi, you seem a brave man and may God increase your courage and determination in confronting injustice no matter who the perpetrator is, for that is essential function of being a 'Muslim'.

rezvan / January 19, 2010 3:18 AM

Here is another theory, based on the SESAME accelerator project: http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2010/january/19//untold-facts-in-ali-mohammadis-assassination.html

Heidar / January 19, 2010 4:53 AM


Dr. Sahimi and Rezvan,

This is not about Islam and it's about our country, you views about the religion is valuable but should be left for another discussion. At some point you have to accept that not every Iranian feels about the Islam the way you do (justly or not) and they are entitled to it and that changes nothing about their feeling about Iran and fight for democracy.

Kia / January 19, 2010 12:08 PM

"If he was killed by outsiders, such as Israel, then the reason was to eliminate a distinguished scientific figure from a Muslim nation."

Dr. Sahimi, are you saying Israel will risk its operations/operatives to eliminate a figure from a Muslim nation just out of pride?!!! This is not about prestige, as far as Israel is concerned, (justified or not) is about exsitential threads. They don't operate out of emotions. They would take the high risk to eliminate someone in circumstances like this only based on how big of a thread they think it is to them. i.e. if the "distinguished scientific figure" has anything to do with the nuclear progress or not. As much as I respect your views, what you are implying here is out of touch with reality.

Kia / January 19, 2010 12:21 PM


Read about SESAME project hear:

http://www.sesame.org.jo/pdf/SesameStanford_Report10_26_06.pdf

The project provides no leaps in technology that would be of importance to Iran's nuclear energy or weapons progress. It's more of training ground for Middle Eastern scientists to work together and a medium for cultural exchange. It explores medical and environmental uses of nuclear technology. Javan newspaper is very misleading in this regard and is trying to push its own agenda by twisting the facts.

Kia / January 19, 2010 1:09 PM

Kia:

What are you trying to say? I believe you are out of line.

Yes, people are entitled to their opinion, but by the same token I am also entitled to criticize the same opinion. A person is clearly either imbecile, or lies when he says, "Islam killed Professor Ali-Mohammadi." I should not respond because "people are entitled to their opinion?" If this is what you consider as freedom of expression?

What does Islam have to do with the murder? I repeat again: If he was murdered by the hardliners, it was because he knew too much about what they had done (I'll post a follow up article soon), and he had become an impediment to their power. It absolutely has nothing to do with Islam.

And, how do you know how people in Iran feel about Islam? Because you feel a certain way, and generalize it?

Regarding Israel: I know better than most the Jordan center. Still, I did not emphasize that in my piece because, objectively, there is only a small chance that Professor Ali-Mohammadi was murdered by Israel.

But, the probability is not zero. Israel has done it in the past; Israel has made it clear that one way of dealing with Iran's nuclear program is through destruction of the scientific base in Iran, and Israel will do it in the future.

And, I do not buy the propaganda that Iran's nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel. Just two weeks ago, Ehud Barak, the Defense Minister, rejected this notion. Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert did the same two years ago. So, what are you? A bowl hotter than the soup that it contqains?

The point of all of Israel's propaganda is that it wants exclusivity in nuclear technology in the Middle East.

Muhammad Sahimi / January 20, 2010 1:00 AM

Mr. Sahimi writes:
..............What does Islam have to do with the murder?...........

Whilst I am not certain about Islam's direct involvement with this particular murder, I think we can all safely agree upon this murderous ideology's involvement in not only "this" murder but murder in general as sanctioned through its many prophecies designed to perpetrate a sense of victimization amongst its believers and of course the subsequent sense of revenge that naturally follows the entrapment felt by [Islamist] victims.

This is most evident in politicized Shia sect of Islam where a continual sense of victimization, through the perpetration of the story of Imam Hussain, is held high in terms of reverence by its believers.

Mr. Sahimi is wrong in implicating "Israel" in this murder.

Israel could not possibly have a long or short term interest in this murder, as Mr. Muhammadi was not even a Nuclear Physicist, let alone a "Muslim Nuclear Scientist" as Mr. Sahimi persuades us to believe. Even if Muhamadi was a nuclear scientist and even if he was directly involved with the regime's nuclear program, his murder by Israeli secret service, could not possibly delay the regime's program, because Iran's program does not suffer from a lack of scientific know how, but from an engineering know how and hardware procurement.

Implicating Israel in this murder is only another form of wishful thinking for Muslims who are convinced of their own victimization and will not stop short of any paranoid delusions to strengthen their own misguided belief system.

Mr. Sahimi is no exception to this regard.

Majid Patterson / January 20, 2010 7:00 AM

Dr. Sahimi,

I agree with you that Islam comment was out of line. But I felt your response was an over-reaction: "Some people's mission in life seems to be poisoning the atmosphere in order to advance their ideology". What my take is from "Islam murdered Prof. Ali-Mohammadi" in this context is a cry of frustration in the midst of crimes committed by IR. This is a cry heard over and over now days and is not surprising given what is going on in Iran by people in power in the name of Islam. But, anyways, I agree that this is not religion's fault.

BTW, I never said I know how people in Iran feel about Islam. Please read my comments again. I never said anything about people in Iran, period. All I said was "not every Iranian feels about Islam the way you do". This is a fact because it holds true even if one person does not feel the same as you about Islam. :)

In fact, you always claim that Iranians are very religious people. With all due respect, I think that is a generalization in the same manner you attributed to me. You don't know that for certain until you do an unbiased national survey of Iranians inside and outside Iran TODAY.

As far as Iran's existential threat to Israel, again, I never said it's justified. In fact, I agree it is just propaganda or Israel would have taken more drastic measures by now as they do every day against Palestinians. All I said was that I do not think they will risk their assets and resources in such operations just so that Iran has one less Muslim scientist to brag about. Their actions are more calculated than that. Now, I do buy into the idea of miscalculation based on MKO's misinformation/wrong intelligence. In which case, it's very sad for Professor Ali-Mohamadi be a victim of.

Kia / January 20, 2010 2:35 PM


This is not in defense of Dr. Sahimi - I would venture to guess that we would disagree on some fronts. Nonetheless, I felt that he did a good job laying out some conjectures. And, as I pointed out in my earlier post, I think he missed an obvious one - i.e. attempts by foreign mercenaries to chaos by staging newsworthy killings.

However, I found the comments by Majid particularly puzzling. I imagine that he knows with certainty who is not to blame for this murder. Otherwise, it would be very sad for Majid to blame the victims by saying:
"... Implicating Israel in this murder is only another form of wishful thinking for Muslims who are convinced of their own victimization...". Let me be specific. Is this a suggestion that if the family of the victim believe that their loved one was murdered by ZZZ, they are just "self-victimizers" because you conjecture that ZZZ was not involved?

Sometimes people take such positions in haste because they want to appear more "pro-western" than the rest. I am not suggesting that this is the case here. I am simply puzzled by the suggestion that on strictly evidence-based and rational grounds we can dismiss the notion that a particular entity (with "stakes in the game") is not among actors that would want to stir the pot in Iran.

jay / January 20, 2010 11:20 PM

Jay wrote:
?????I am simply puzzled by the suggestion that on strictly evidence-based and rational grounds we can dismiss the notion that a particular entity ?????
There is nothing "evidence based" or "Rational" about implicating Israel in a murder in central; Tehran.

Rationality suggests that this murder serves no purpose for Israel, neither does it alleviate a so called "existential threat" posed by the highly extremists regime in Tehran. Implicating Israel to this end is therefore only wishful and misguided thinking on the part of Iranian extremist Muslims who are convinced of their own victimization and will not stop short of any paranoid delusions to strengthen their own misguided belief system.

The regime of Iran needs an enemy to legitimize its own existence as leaders of a nation whom evident by the events of post election Iran, despise the regime's very existence.

Back to the question of "who dun it", the regime of Iran's domestic and international Iranian dissent makes up for a much wider spectrum of possibilities than Israel, however as I mentioned in my very first post, this job (the murder of Mr. Muhammadi), stinks of regime itself at its best, and MKO Marxist/Islamist mercenaries at its worst.

Do not be puzzled. I have laid my thoughts out as coherently as anyone else's.

P.s.
I am also a Muslim by birth alas non practicing and not intending to do so either. What does "appearing pro west" has to do with any of this anyway?

Most Iranians would not hesitate to line up at the US embassy for a chance of an entry Visa, if the United States were allowed to reopen its consulate in Iran. Trust me , I am in the know.

Why do you think that the regime in Tehran would not contemplate such disastrous decision? (to allow US to open its embassy in Tehran)

Majis Patterson / January 21, 2010 6:47 AM

With apologies Majid, but there is no point in exchanging views with you if you refuse to understand the written word. But, to give you the benefit of the doubt, let me try in simple language.

Do you have definitive evidence as to who did it? (yes/no). If you do, please present your definitive evidence. If you don't, then there is a non-zero chance for any adversary of Iran to be the culprit (yes/no). It is that simple.

I read the emotion in your writing and you are entitled to your personal feelings, but that does not equal rational/logical/evidence-based argument.

jay / January 23, 2010 10:37 AM

SORRY,this can be anything but independent news.You stance is completely biased.What you are publishing is simply an american and western propangandaYou are taking position and you are not trying to give us an independent information.Don't forget, we are in 2010 and we have more ears and eyes.We are sick of this american propaganda.You better concentrate on american evil which has spilled all over the world.

BRAHim algeria / February 3, 2010 5:01 PM

hello
this is not credible that iran itself it's science nuclear or even it is not related to nuclear power of iran.
i belive that Isreal choose him because they saw that mahmud ali mohammadi is in the Green movement and if they kill him no one will discover that this is from Isreal,although last week iran's news shows that a person who Department Info of iran arrested him killed mahmud and he told that he was working for Isreal.
although we can understand this from killing majid shahriari ,you cannot say that he was also in Green movement because he was in basij organization and he was really connected to the leader of Iran.
I believe that these murders were to affraid Iran from nuclear power,but I see that it really does not changes anything.

excuse me for my bad translation .i dont know english well.
thank you.

abiuse / January 19, 2011 11:16 AM