An Iranian man has been sentenced to death in connection with the killing of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
Majid Jamali Fashi, accused of being a spy for Israel, reportedly confessed to murdering Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a physics professor at Tehran University, in January 2010.
Iranian state prosecutors claimed that Fashi detonated a bomb planted on a motorcycle outside Mohammadi's home.
Fashi, they allege, was paid $120,000 by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
The defendant also allegedly confessed that Mossad instructed him to carry out five other murders of prominent Iranians, but these were never completed.
A spokesman for the judiciary reportedly said that Fashi will be condemned to death for waging war against God and being corrupt on Earth – both of which are capital offenses under Iranian Islamic law.
Fashi has twenty days to appeal his sentence.
There's been a spate of killings of top Iranian scientists in recent months.
Daryoush Rezaei, another Tehran University physicist, was reportedly killed outside his home in July.
Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering department of Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, was murdered in November. Fereydoon Abbasi, another nuclear expert, was injured in a separate attack that same day.
Iran’s nuclear program has raised alarm bells all over Western Europe, the U.S. and Israel – western powers fear Tehran is developing atomic power for military purposes.
In return, Iran has accused the U.S. and Israel of seeking to curtail its nuclear program, which Tehran claims is designed for peaceful uses.