Mon, Jan 16, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Iran delivers letter to US over scientist

WAR DRUMS:Iran says bloody incidents to thwart its nuclear program had started after MI6 said it would help target states seeking nuclear weapons

Reuters, TEHRAN

A fisherman pulls his net to collect a daily catch from the beaches of Khasab, Musandam, Oman, on the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. Iran has threatened to close the strait if oil sanctions are imposed against Tehran.

Photo: EPA

Iran said on Saturday it had evidence Washington was behind the latest killing of one of its nuclear scientists, state television reported, at a time when tensions over the country’s nuclear program have escalated to their highest level ever.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, a magnetic bomb was attached to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan’s car during the Wednesday morning rush-hour in the capital. His driver was also killed.

US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton denied responsibility and Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel had no role in the attack, to the best of his knowledge.

“We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a letter handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, state TV reported.

The Swiss embassy represents US interests in a country where Washington has no diplomatic ties.

The spokesman for Iran’s Joint Armed Forces Staff, Massoud Jazayeri, said: “Our enemies, especially America, Britain and the Zionist regime [Israel], have to be held responsible for their actions.”

Iran in the past has accused Israel of causing a series of spectacular and sometimes bloody mishaps to its nuclear program. Israeli officials do not comment on any involvement in those events, although some have publicly expressed satisfaction at the setbacks.

Feeling the heat from unprecedented new sanctions, Iran’s clerical establishment has brandished its sword by threatening to block the main Middle East oil shipping route — the Strait of Hormus —starting to enrich uranium at an underground bunker and sentencing an Iranian-American citizen to death on spying charges.

State TV said a “letter of -condemnation” had also been sent to Britain, saying the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists began after the head of Britain’s MI6 spy service announced intelligence operations against states seeking nuclear weapons.

The West says Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at building a bomb. Tehran says it has the right to peaceful nuclear power.

Tehran has urged the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the latest killing.

After years of international sanctions that had little impact on Iran, US President Barack Obama signed new measures on New Year’s Eve that, if fully implemented, would make it impossible for most countries to pay for Iranian oil.

Washington is requiring that countries gradually reduce their purchases of Iranian oil to receive temporary waivers from the sanctions.

The EU is expected to unveil similar measures next week and announce a gradual oil embargo among its member states, who collectively buy about a fifth of Iran’s exports.

The combined measures mean Iran may fail to sell all of the 2.6 million barrels a day of exports it relies on to feed its 74 million people. Even if it finds buyers, it will have to offer steep discounts, cutting into its desperately needed revenue.

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