The sister of an Iranian nuclear physicist who was murdered in 2007 asserts that not Israel but rather Iran's Revolutionary Guard assassinated him, The Media Line, a Middle East-oriented news site, reported Monday.
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The conventional wisdom has been that Israel targeted Iran's Ardeshir Hoseeinpour because he was helping the Islamic Republic's develop a nuclear bomb. Stratfor.com, a website featuring intelligence and security analysis released a report drawing such a conclusion.
Iran pushed this version of the events, while Israel refused to comment, stirring speculation that Israel was responsible for Hosseinpour's alleged gassing.
However, his sister, Mahboobeh Hosseinpour, asserts the Revolutionary Guard murdered him "because of his refusal to be involved in Iran's nuclear enrichment program whose use was for atomic purposes," according to The Media Line.
Her story, if confirmed, would support suspicions about the Revolutionary Guard's nuclear ambitions, according to Iman Foroutan, chairman of Iranian opposition group The New Iran.
Speaking from Turkey via Skype in an interview which The New Iran arranged, Hosseinpour said her sister-in-law, Sara Araghi, had told her of her brother's secret research.
She referred to a DVD containing "research and formulas for building an atomic bomb 12 times more powerful than the Hiorshima bomb and methods for neutralizing it," The Media Line reported. Araghi collected the hidden DVD after Hosseinpour's death but told her sister-in-law later that it had been stolen.
She told The Media Line that three special agents of the Revolutionary Guard's Defense Department brought him a special message from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, enlisting him to work on the country's atomic enrichment program for the purposes of developing atomic weapons as well as working with Russian and North Korean scientists to speed up the project's progress.
Hosseinpour said her brother refused to cooperate despite being "offered a two star rank in the revolutionary guard and ownership of factories" if he did because he believed the projects would cause financial damage for both the people of Iran as well as the international community.
Alireza Nourizadeh, a political refugee and journalist in Great Britain, backed up Hosseinpour's theory about her brother's death, telling The Media Line that one of the reasons for the assassination may have been an email he received from Ardeshir Hosseinpour about the sensitivities of his work.
"They were aware of it, even if they did not have the content," he said.