This story originally appeared on themedialine.org.
The sister of a leading Iranian nuclear physicist widely believed to have been assassinated by Israel as part of an effort to derail the Islamic Republic’s drive to create nuclear weapons says her brother was murdered by Iran ’s Revolutionary Guard (IRI) because he wouldn’t cooperate with the effort to divert nuclear activities from peaceful purposes.
When Iranian scientist Dr. Ardeshir Hosseinpour was killed in February 2007, the cause of death was reported to be “gassing” and most presumed the act was carried out by Israel . That belief stood, largely because of Iranian accusations to that effect; and because of Israeli policy to neither confirm nor deny such acts. But now, seven years later, Mahboobeh Hosseinpour has come forward with the claim that the IRI was behind her brother’s death because of his refusal to be involved in Iran ’s nuclear enrichment program whose use was for atomic purposes.
If Hosseinpour’s account can be confirmed, it could have impact on the next round of between Iran and the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany .
Speaking to The Media Line from Turkey via Skype in a conversation arranged by the Iranian opposition group The New Iran, 52-year old Mahboobeh Hosseinpour said that she learned through her sister-in-law, Sara Araghi, of her brother’s secret research, and particularly about a DVD which contained research and formulas for building an atomic bomb 12 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb and methods for neutralizing it.
Mahmoobeh Hosseinpour learned that her brother was contacted in November 2004 by three special agents of IRI’s Defense Department with a personal message from IRI’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, enlisting him to work on increasing IRI’s uranium enrichment capabilities for the purpose of building atomic weapons; and with a secondary goal of teaching and supervising Russian and North Korean scientists in order to accelerate the project. Speaking about her brother, Hosseinpour said that “he was offered a two star rank in the revolutionary guard and ownership of factories,” if he agreed.
Mrs. Hossenpour told The Media Line that Israel did not kill her brother but the IRI did, allegedly because he would not co-operate with them, claiming those projects would result in serious financial damage for the people of the Iran as well as the international community.
Noted Iranian journalist Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh supports Hosseinpour’s allegations, telling The Media Line that one of the reasons the IRI killed Dr. Hosseinpour “was because of an email communication he had with me about the sensitivities of his work. They were aware of it, even if they did not have the content.”
Upon Ardeshir Hosseinpour’s death on February 15, 2007, Sara Araghi told Mahboobeh that she went to her husbands’ university office and removed the hidden DVD, the location of which she knew, taking note of displaced items including a missing photo of her brother with President Khatami. The DVD was eventually stolen.
Hosseinpour’s mother, who died in 2011, was also warned to be careful. She was told that Ayatollah Khameiei had issued a fatwa, an Islamic religious decree, demanding that scientists had to work toward the benefit of the Islamic Republic 20 percent enrichment.
Dr. Iman Foroutan, chairman of The New Iran, a non-profit organization that describes its mission as “accelerating the downfall of the Islamic regime via non-violent means,” said that Western countries have long held suspicions regarding the IRI’s nuclear weapon ambitions, and Mrs. Mahboobeh Hosseinpour’s claims could help support these suspicions.
Although she has recently told her story through interviews on Arabic and Farsi stations, her goal is now exposure on Western media.
Ardeshir Hosseinpour was born December 1962 in Tehran . He completed his army service in 1984 with special commendation, and enrolled in Shiraz University where he graduated with four scientific degrees in four years including a degree in electrical engineering. After receiving his Masters in condensed matter physics, Dr. Hosseinpour became the first Iranian to earn a Doctorate in the field of atomic physics and began working as an associate professor at Shiraz University . He published approximately 48 papers and articles in respected scientific journals.
Felice Friedson is President/CEO of The Media Line, an American non-profit news agency and can be reached at [email protected].