Middle East

Iran death penalty for 'Israeli spy' Majid Jamali Fashi

Majid Jamali Fashi in court in Tehran - 23 August 2011 Image copyright AP
Image caption Majid Jamali Fashi was allegedly paid for the assassination

An Iranian man accused of Israeli links has been sentenced to death for killing one of the country's nuclear scientists, state media has reported.

Majid Jamali Fashi had confessed to the murder of physics professor Massoud Ali Mohammadi, from Tehran University, on 12 January 2010, news agency IRNA said.

Prosecutors accused him of detonating a bomb planted on a motorcycle outside Mr Mohammadi's home. They said he was paid by Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Israel does not comment on such claims.

Iran has accused Israel and the US of trying to harm its nuclear programme. The two countries believe Iran is trying to acquire the technology to build nuclear weapons, something Tehran vigorously denies.

'War against God'

IRNA quoted a judiciary spokesman as saying Mr Fashi had been condemned to death for "waging war against God" and being "corrupt on Earth", both capital offences under Iran's strict form of Islamic law.

Prosecutors had claimed Mr Fashi received $120,000 (£72,000) and training from Mossad.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Masoud Ali Mohammadi was among a number of scientists targeted

In his confession, Mr Fashi had allegedly said he was ordered by Mossad to carry out five other killings but did not go through with them.

Mr Fashi has 20 days to appeal.

Several other Iranian scientists have been killed in recent months.

Another Tehran University physicist, Daryoush Rezaei, was shot dead outside his home in the Iranian capital in July, state media said.

Majid Shahriari, of the nuclear engineering department of Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, was killed last November, while another expert Fereydoon Abbasi was injured in an attack on the same day.

Reports said motorcyclists drove alongside the scientists' cars, attached magnetised bombs to the side of the vehicles, and then drove away.

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