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» February 15, 2011
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The Sabotaging of Iran

Roula Khalaf, et al. | Financial Times


Majid Shahriyari became an Iranian martyr while he was driving to work on an autumn day in Tehran. As he made his way along Artesh Boulevard, an explosive device ripped through his car. The 45-year-old was a devout man: Iranians would describe him as a Hizbollahi, a person fiercely loyal to the country's Islamic system and easily identified by his unshaven face and simple clothes. But Shahriyari also stood out for another reason. He was one of Iran's leading atomic scientists, an expert on nuclear chain reactions.

Iran has long maintained that its atomic programme is aimed at developing peaceful nuclear energy. But much of the outside world believes its true intention is to build a nuclear weapon. Either way, Shahriyari was indispensable. On November 29 2010, as the scientist and his wife were on their way to Shahid Beheshti University, where they worked as professors, a motorcycle pulled up alongside their car. The riders then attached an object to the driver's door window, and sped off. A few seconds later, an explosion blew the door off the left side of the car.  
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