TEHRAN, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Tehran has denied recent
reports that an Iranian nuclear scientist had been "assassinated" by Israeli
security service Mossad, local Fars news agency reported on Sunday.
Ardeshire Hassanpour, a 44-year-old Iranian nuclear
physicist, had been "suffocated by fumes from a faulty gas fire in sleep," Fars
quoted an unidentified "informed source" as saying, denying his "assassination"
by Mossad as some reports said.
The source added that Hassanpour had been a Shiraz
University professor and was in no way connected to Iran's Uranium Conversion
Facility (UCF) in the country's central city of Isfahan.
British newspaper The Sunday Times reported on Sunday
that the prize-winning Iranian nuclear scientist has died in mysterious
circumstances and an intelligence source suggested that he had been assassinated
Quoting Radio Farda, which is funded by the U.S.
State Department and broadcasts to Iran, the British newspaper said Hassanpour
worked at a plant in Isfahan where uranium hexafluoridegas is produced.
The report added that Iran announced his death on
Jan. 21 after a delay of six days, giving the cause as "gas poisoning."
Hassanpour won Iran's leading military research prize
in 2004and was awarded top prize at the Kharazmi international science festival
in Iran last year.
Rheva Bhalla of Stratfor, the U.S. intelligence
company, claimed on Friday that Hassanpour had been targeted by Mossad and that
there was "very strong intelligence" to suggest that he had been assassinated by
But in the Fars report, the Iranian source strongly
denied the theory, saying that the Israeli intelligence agency "is basically
incapable of running operations inside Iran."
"Such reports are released to serve propaganda
purposes," he said, adding that "Iran's nuclear scientists are continuing their
efforts to master civilian nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."
Earlier on Sunday, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Iranian vice
president and head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, also denied the
reports, saying that all the country's "nuclear experts, thank God, are sound
According to Fars, Aghazadeh said that no such person
called Ardeshire Hassanpour had been among his employees.