January 11, 2012, 12:07 PM — Another key Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed in what appears to be an increasingly overt fight over Iran's nuclear development program.
Ahmadi Roshan, a chemist who was director of Iran's primary uranium enrichment facility, was killed in traffic after two men on a motorcycle caught up to the car in which he was riding and attached at least one bomb to it using magnets, according to Iran's state TV news service.
A second person riding in the car was killed and a third was injured as was an 85-year-old bystander; none were identified by Iranian news sources.
The assassination comes just days after the U.N.'s nuclear-watchdog agency confirmed that Iran had begun enriching uranium to near-weapons-grade levels at a protected underground facility at Fordo in the mountainous Qom province, where it is protected by 300 feet of rock. Iranian officials told the International Atomic Energy Commission it has 3,000 centrifuges operating at Fordo, compared to the 8,000 running at its primary facility at Natanz.
The French Foreign Ministry, despite France's often-supportive stance toward Iran, called the facility "a new wave of provocation" that flouts U.N. resolutions calling on Iran to stop its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Sudden rash of "things happening…unnaturally"
Roshan is the fourth Iranian nuclear scientist murdered in what appears to be a two-year, increasingly violent covert campaign to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – a campaign that has slowed but never stopped the effort.
Iran announced this week it had shifted much of the most sensitive uranium-enrichment work from vulnerable existing nuclear facilities to
The best-known, possibly most effective attack came from the Stuxnet virus, which had been customized specifically to attack the Windows-based software that controlled the high-energy centrifuges being used to isolate uranium at Iran's Bashehr nuclear development facility.