Israel Poisoned Two Iranian Scientists, NYT Report Suggests

The allegations placing Israel behind the two scientists' deaths come as tensions remain high over Iran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers

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Haaretz
Relatives mourn Revolutionary Guard Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei during his funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, in May.
Relatives mourn Revolutionary Guard Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei during his funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, in May.Credit: Vahid Salemi/AP
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Haaretz

Two Iranian scientists who suddenly fell ill and died early this month are now believed to have been poisoned by Israel, an Iranian official told the New York Times in a report released Monday.

The report follows the death of another Iranian government scientist on Monday, the latest in a spate of mysterious deaths of military employees in the Islamic Republic, many of whom specialized in ballistic missile technology.

Ayoub Entezari was an aeronautical engineer employed at a military research center, and Kamran Aghamolaei was a geologist. Both men fell ill in late May under bizarre circumstances, growing increasingly sick before their deaths in June.

The allegations placing Israel behind Entezari and Aghamolaei's deaths come as tensions remain high over Iran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers, coinciding with a series of deaths in Iran linked to Israel that have shaken the country in the last two weeks alone.

"[Iran's] red line is the security of its citizens," said an Iranian government spokesperson in an interview with the Iranian news agency Tasnim. "It will take whatever retaliatory measure which is needed as countermeasure against any external act" by Israel.

Last week, a top Iranian military commander warned that "for any mistakes made by the enemy, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground."

Muhammad Abdul, who died Monday, was in his 30s and had worked at the Semnan Space Center, home to the Iranian Space Agency's satellite launch site and ballistic missile testing that hosted the country's first launch of a military satellite into space. Just one day earlier, Revolutionary Guards aerosapce expert Ali Kamani died in a car accident while on a mission.

While authorities offered no suggestion of foul play in the men's deaths, Israel has been accused of killing other high-ranking Guard members in what has amounted to an intensifying clandestine war revolving around Iran's nuclear aspirations.

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