A leading Iranian nuclear physicist has been shot dead near his home in Tehran, according to Iranian media reports.

The Iranian Students News Agency (Isna) identified him as Daryoush Rezaei, 45, and also noted that his wife was wounded in the attack. Other reports he was shot at by gunman riding a motorcycle, but this has not been independently confirmed.

The investigation to identify the motorcyclists involved in the assassination has begun, the Mehr news agency quoted a police official as saying, adding that Rezai's wife was taken to hospital.

Isna said Rezaei was connected to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, a body that supervises the country's complex of nuclear installations, including uranium enrichment facilities.

The murder reportedly occurred near the Imam Ali military base, the vortex of Iran’s nuclear program

Iran accused Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence service, for the murder, citing that the Jewish State has long criticized Tehran’s nascent atomic program

Last year, another Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was murdered by a remote-controlled bomb in Tehran.

While Iran maintains its nuclear endeavors are purely designed for peaceful purposes, Israel, the U.S. and many other western European nations are skeptical.

In fact, over the past week, Tehran announced that it was installing new centrifuges at its nuclear plants in order to accelerate the uranium enrichment process. The announcement was roundly condemned by the west, noting that it would make it easier for the Iranians to develop atomic bombs.