The German weekly Der Spiegel reports that Israel’s Mossad intelligence service is behind the assassination of Daryoush Rezainejad, the Iranian academic who was shot to death last week.
Der Spiegel quotes an Israeli intelligence official saying: “This was the first public operation of the new Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.”
The reports says Mossad operatives on a motorcycle shot at Rezainejad while he and his wife were waiting to pick up their child at daycare.
Rezainejad was shot to death on July 23 by unidentified individuals. Iranian media first described the victim as a nuclear scientist but later denied he was connected to the nuclear program and said he was a graduate student in the electronics department of Khajeh Nasireddin Toosi University.
A number of Iranian officials attributed the attack to the U.S. and Israel.
While Israel has made no comment on the issue, the U.S. has denied the allegations and called on Iran to stop trying to divert public attention from the international dispute over its nuclear activities.
In December of 2009, Iranian physics professor Massoud Ali Mohammadi was assassinated in front of his home in Tehran.
A year later, Majid Shahriyari and Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, two other Iranian physics professors, were targeted by assassination attacks that left Shahriyari dead.
Der Spiegel also adds: “Mossad experts have long believed that the best way to delay the progress of Iran’s nuclear program is by assassinating key people involved in its development and by striking Iran’s nuclear reactors – but it is unclear when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will listen to these suggestions.”
The former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan previously has said it would be unwise to strike at Iranian nuclear reactors.