Yeganeh Salehi and Dana El Baltaji — Philly.com Oct 4, 2013
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rejected reports that the head of the country’s cyber-warfare program had been assassinated, saying only that it was probing the death of an employee it did not identify.
“This statement denies all the news about assassinating one of our workers after a very sudden incident happened to him,” the Imam Hassan Mojtaba division of the Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement on the Alborz website. “We are investigating the incident and the intention of the attacker or attackers.”
The Daily Telegraph, a British daily, reported Wednesday that cyber-warfare chief Mojtaba Ahmadi was shot dead in a targeted assassination, citing what it said was an earlier report on Alborz. He was killed by two bullets to the heart, according to the daily.
The Revolutionary Guards, which did not provide the name or rank held by the dead man, said his body was found near Karaj, a town northwest of Tehran, according to the statement on Alborz. Iran has accused Western powers of assassinating at least three of its nuclear scientists since 2010, an allegation the State Department has denied.
“It is possible that the assassination is the outcome of an internal dispute and didn’t come from abroad,” Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Perry said on Israel Radio when asked about the incident.
Western officials said the information was still being assessed, according to the Telegraph. Tighter security measures around leading commanders and nuclear scientists have instilled a culture of fear in some of the most sensitive parts of the security establishment, the paper said.
The last victim of a known assassination was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemist who worked in the uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, who died when an explosive device blew up on his car in January 2012.