Middle East

Iran: Scientist shot dead in Tehran

Bushehr nuclear plant (26 October 2010)
Image caption Iran insists its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes

An Iranian scientist has been shot dead outside his home in Tehran, Iranian media say.

Isna news agency named him as Daryoush Rezaei, 35, adding that his wife was wounded and rushed to hospital.

In 2010, nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed by a remote-controlled bomb in Tehran.

Iran blamed that attack on Israeli secret service Mossad. Israel has long warned about Iran's nuclear programme.

It was reported earlier that the scientist had links to the country's nuclear programme. This was later denied

Some reports said the latest attack involved assailants on a motorcycle, who shot him in the neck in front of his house.

Mr Rezaei was said to be a physicist at a Tehran university, where media reports described him variously as a teacher, researcher and student.

'New provocation'

The US, Israel and many Western nations have opposed Iran's atomic programme, fearing it may be a front to creating a nuclear bomb.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes.

This week, Iran said it was installing newer and faster centrifuges at its nuclear plants, with the goal of speeding up its uranium enrichment process.

Enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear purposes, but also to build atomic bombs.

The French government condemned the move as a "new provocation".

Update: This report was updated on Monday 25 July to reflect the later denials by officials that the scientist had no connection to Iran's nuclear programme.