Iran has expressed its belief that Israel poisoned two scientists who fell ill and died under mysterious circumstances earlier this month, amid a spike in Iranian scientists being killed or dying over the past month.
The two men – aeronautical engineer, Ayoub Entezari and geologist, Kamran Aghamolaei – mysteriously became ill in late May, further deteriorating in health before their deaths in early June. According to the New York Times, which cited a senior Iranian official who spoke to it, Tehran believes that Tel Aviv played a role in their illnesses and deaths by poisoning them.
The extent to which the Entezari and Aghamolaei were involved in Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes has not been revealed, but it is reported that Entezari was employed at a military research centre.
Both of their predicaments are amongst the spate of deaths or killings of other Iranian scientists over the past month – and more over the past few years. Others who died last month include Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, a senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who was assassinated by two motorcyclists in Tehran on 22 May, Ehsun Ghadbeigi, an engineer killed in a drone attack on a military base on 26 May.
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Those who died this month include IRGC colonel, Ali Esmailzadeh, who died during an “incident in his residence” on 3 June, and IRGC Aerospace Force member, Ali Kamani who died in a car accident while on a mission on 12 June. The latest death was that of IRGC member, Muhammad Abdul, who was killed on 13 June.
While it is not known or confirmed whether Israel had a hand in any or all of their deaths, Tel Aviv has previously assassinated top figures who were heavily involved in Tehran’s nuclear programme, such as the nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. More recently, it admitted its assassination of the aforementioned IRGC colonel Khodaei.
In an interview with the Iranian news agency Tasnim, a government spokesperson stated that Iran’s “red line is the security of its citizens,” assuring that the country “will take whatever retaliatory measure which is needed as counter-measure against any external act” committed by Israel.
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