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« Today in EA (12 January 2010) | Main | Latest Iran Video: How State Media Frames Killing of "Nuclear" Professor (12 January) »

The Latest from Iran (12 January): The Killing of the Professor

2110 GMT: Peyke Iran has published the news we heard earlier (see 1810 GMT) that all the detained Mothers of Mourning have been released.

1855 GMT: HomyLafayette has an excellent summary of information around the Mohammadi case.

1845 GMT: More on the Trial of the Baha'i (see 0725 GMT). An EA reader notes confusion over the court hearing for seven Baha'i members arrested in 2008 for "organizing riots". Many accounts say the trial was today but one Iranian source reports that testimony began yesterday, a day early.

1815 GMT: Not A Nuclear Scientist. A highly reliable EA source checks in on the Professor's case: "I hand checked all three UN black lists [of Iranian nuclear scientists]. Ali Mohammadi isn't there."

1810 GMT: Mothers of Mourning Update. Norooz reports that 14 of the mothers arrested in last Saturday's protest have been transferred to Evin prison while the rest have been released.

An Iranian activist is claiming, however, that all mothers have been freed.

1800 GMT: Oh. My. Goodness. The Supreme Leader's representative to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, Ali Saeedi, has reportedly declared that the the deaths of 75,000 people will be worthwhile if the Islamic Republic is preserved. 1745 GMT: The Presidential website has made a contribution to the Mohammadi story, declaring that the Iranian nation will have its "revenge" on the "enemies" who killed the professor. More info, however, on Mohammadi as a particle physicist: his faculty profile and a list of publications which complements those we noted earlier (1445 GMT).

NEW Latest Iran Video: How State Media Frames Killing of “Nuclear” Professor (12 January) NEW Iran: How Far Do The Green Movements Go? NEW Iran & Social Media: Dispelling Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (Parsons) Iran Exclusive: The Latest Nuclear Riddle — Renewed Talks with “West”? Iran Analysis: Beyond the Headlines, The Regime Battles Itself Iran & Twitter: Myth v. Reality of Security and “Deep Packet Inspection” Iran & Twitter: Last Words on The Hell of Heaven (Shahryar) The Latest from Iran (11 January): Reading the Regime

1630 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz is reporting an explosion in Shariati Street, Tehran, which has killed one person.

1605 GMT: How the Mohammadi Story Was Clarified. It should be noted that the "Iranian blogger" mentioned at 1250 GMT, with the post which began to establish that Professor Mohammadi was a particle physicist and not a nuclear scientist, was one of Mohammadi's students.

1555 GMT: We've posted a video showing how Iran's state media are framing the killing of Professor Mohammadi. It is, according to Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a "terrorist" act --- probably the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) --- supported by the US and Israel.

1535 GMT: Not A Nuclear Scientist. The Iranian Atomic Energy Agency has formally denied any professional relationship with Professor Mohammad Ali Mohammadi. We also have another link for Professor Mohammadi: his involvement in the project "Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East" (SESAME).

1515 GMT: Curbing the Reformists. A group of members of Parliament has asked Speaker Ali Larijani to remove Ali Akbar Motashami, head of Mehdi Karroubi's Presidential campaign, as the chair of Committee for the Defense of Palestine. Motashami has criticised the outcome of the Presidential election since the day after the vote, and his Parliamentary opponents have claimed that he is responsible for the slogan, "No Gaza! No Lebanon! We Sacrifice for Iran!". Motashami was former Minister of Interior when Mir Hossein Mousavi was Prime Minister.

1510 GMT: Motahari's Move. High-profile member of Parliament (and brother-in-law of Ali Larijani) Ali Motahari has continued his recent criticism of the Ahmadinejad Government through a letter  to  Hossein Shariatmardari, the editor of the pro-Ahmadinejad newspaper Kayhan. Motahari declared that the President started the political crisis when he accused all of the candidates in the election of being "spinning tops" of Hashemi Rafsanjani. Motahari put four questions to Shariatmardari, including the reason why Ahmadinejad attacked Hashemi Rafsanjani in pre-election debates, and he concluded the letter, "Maybe you and your colleagues need a rest". Indeed, it would be better for Iranian society if Shariatmardari and his friends went "for a holiday in an enjoyable place" and allowed the situation to improve.

1505 GMT: The Attack on Rafsanjani. Cleric Hamid Rohani  has announced that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani is "not a very important man" and asserted that Imam Khomeini believed Rafsanjani could be "deceived" by others.

1455 GMT: Makhmalbaf Puts Out Mousavi's Message? The filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who is closely connected with Mir Hossein Mousavi, has set out a series of declarations, defining the state of the Green movement, in an interview:
Who are main leaders of the movement? It's the young generation. In each alley, in each street, you will see one smart youth lead 10 others. We have some famous people everywhere, but even if the government kills all of them, this movement will continue.

Makhmalbaf added a specific declaration on methods, "The past seven months have been the first time that we could ask people to think about non-violence. We are going to kill dictatorship, not dictators. We don't want to empty the prisons and then fill them with other people." The filmmaker also repeated his wish for "targeted sanctions" against the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.

1445 GMT: More on the Particle Physicist. A fellow physicist has posted a link to 40 listed academic papers of "M. Alimohammadi" or "Mohsen Alimohammadi". None of them, according to the sources, are connected with nuclear physics.

1305 GMT: The Mohammadi Blame Game. Press TV, after carrying the message of Iran's Foreign Ministry of "signs of the involvement of the Zionist regime [Israel], the US and their allies" in the killing of Professor Mohammadi, rolls out the latest accusation
A terrorist group, whose radio station broadcast from the United States, took responsibility Tuesday for the fatal attack on an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran. The Iran Royal Association, an obscure monarchist group that seeks to reestablish the Pahlavi reign in Iran, announced in a statement that its "Tondar Commandos" were behind the assassination of Masoud Ali-Mohammadi.

And very quickly the "Iran Royal Association" denies the allegation.

1250 GMT: The Real Professor Mohammadi? A highly-reliable EA source provides the following important information:
I knew Ali Mohammadi personally and talked to him at length in Tehran in March. Almost certainly he had nothing to do with Iran's nuclear programme, according to very informed sources, and he was indeed a supporter of the Green movement. Rah-e-Sabz has published his signature on a letter sent by a group of university professors in support of Mousavi.

An Iranian blogger makes similar points, while adding that Mohammadi was a specialist on particle physics and linking to his Tehran University profile.

1050 GMT: The Battle over the Dead Professor. Wow, this is going to get heated. Ayande News , considered close to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has fought back against state media's portrayal that Massoud Mohammadi was a "dedicated revolutionary" killed by "anti-revolutionary" elements with the reminder that Mohammadi was publicly identified as a supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi. The Mousavi site Kalameh also pushes this line and adds that Mohammadi, one of the first Ph.D. graduates in physics at Tehran University, was instrumental in the development of the programme over the last 20 years. (English summary)

0930 GMT: Killed Professor in Iran's Nuclear Programmme? The Internet chatter that Massoud Mohammadi, the Tehran University professor killed in an explosion this morning (see 0720 GMT), is a nuclear physicist now appears to be confirmed. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi has said that Mohammadi was a member of the country's "scientific elite" killed by Iran's enemies. (English summary in Los Angeles Times)

[NOTE: This update has been eclipsed by later news. It appears that the "nuclear physicist" claim is a line put out by Iranian authorities and does not represent Mohammadi's work.]

0920 GMT: Trials for US Citizens? The Iranian Foreign Ministry has repeated this morning that the three American citizens detained this summer when they crossed on foot into Iran from Iraq will soon be in court: "The judiciary will make a decision and we know that they will be tried soon." (Original story from Fars)

0750 GMT: A Cyber-Attack Too Far? Remember the "Iranian Cyber-Army", the group that carried out attacks on Twitter and, more importantly, the opposition website Mowj-e-Sabz? Well, they're back with a curious operation. This morning, their "diversion" attack posted their images and slogans on Baidu, China's top search engine. Baidu is now back in operation, but news of the hijacking has quickly spread. More importantly, so has the head-scratching. Why, given Tehran's need for Chinese support on a number of issues, would an Iranian group take down a prominent site accepted by the Chinese Government? If the Iranian Cyber-Army is close to the Government, someone has authorised a very stupid operation. If, on the other, the ICA is just a private group carrying out a bit of damage and silliness, it is not really helping anyone.

0745 GMT: Free the Mothers of Mourning. Amnesty International has called on Iran's authorities to release 33 Mothers of Mourning and their supporters, detained at the weekly protest in Laleh Park on Saturday.

0740 GMT: Nuclear Talks. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed, after  discussion of further US sanctions and Iran's latest proposals, that talks of the "5+1" powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia) on Tehran's nuclear programme will take place in New York at the end of this week.

0725 GMT: Blaming the Baha'is. A story that we should have noted this weekend. The Iranian regime will soon try seven leaders of the Baha'i faith, held in Evin prison since spring 2008. While the detentions occurred two years ago, the handling of the cases is now clearly tied to the Government's manoeuvres in the post-election crisis, blaming groups like the Baha'i, "terrorists", and foreign powers for the conflict. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi declared:
These people were not arrested because they were Baha'is....In searching their homes, a number of weapons and ammunition were discovered....[They] played a role in organizing the riots and sending pictures of the riots abroad. That is why they were arrested.

0720 GMT: Press TV is reporting that Dr Massoud Mohammadi, a Tehran University professor, has been killed near his home by the explosion of a booby-trapped motorbike. Mohammadi recently presented a paper on water resource management at an Australian conference. 0715 GMT: We begin today with two analyses. After yesterday's major development, the issuing of statements by Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami, we put the question, "How Far Do The Green Movements Go?" in their demands. And amidst the recent discussion of #IranElection and Twitter, Christopher Parsons busts some fears and dispels some myths about Iran and social media.

References (1)

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  • Response
    Response: amy
    excelent info, keep it coming

Reader Comments (38)

Hi Arshama
Yesterday night, I heard Mr Chalingui on VOA saying that Hillary Clinton has met a few members of iranian opposition, to know more about their thoughts on the sanctions targetting the IRGC cies and has reassured them that they have the entire support of the USA ! do you know more about this meeting and who were the representants of the opposition ?

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris


Clinton did not meet with the "opposition" but with US-based Iran analysts --- see


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Roozonline just published an interview (FA) with Mohammadreza Madhi, the supposed ex-committee member at the Assembly of Experts, as well as IRGC and counter intelligence services, living in Bankok now. Thought you might find it interesting:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMoandor

Roozonline just published an interview (FA) with Mohammadreza Madhi, the supposed ex-committee member in the Assembly of Experts, the IRGC and intelligence. Thought you might find it interesting:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMoandor

Photos of the blast that has killed Dr. Alimohamadi, a Tehran University professor:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

RE 9:20 GMT I doubt we'll be seeing the American hikers in court soon. Their Iranian lawyer, who has not yet been allowed to see his clients, says officials have said that the case is still in its research (i.e. discovery) stage even though they have been in custody for 5 months. Read more:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

He was most certainly NOT a nuclear physicist. He was a PARTICLE physicist.

And he was very much involved with Mousavi's campaign. He even encouraged people to go out and protest.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Take a look at how the Israeli intel-n'-disinfo site Debkafile is covering the assassination:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterparvati_roma

[...] The Latest from Iran (12 January): The Killing of the Professor | Enduring America 1305 GMT: The Mohammadi Blame Game. Press TV, after carrying the message of Iran’s Foreign Ministry of “signs of the involvement of the Zionist regime [Israel], the US and their allies” in the killing of Professor Mohammadi, rolls out the latest accusation: Quote: [...]

This regime thinks they are smart enough to frame some groups to be responsible for the asassination of Dr. Mohammadi, phrasing him as a dedicated supporter of the revolution, member of the elite nuclear scientists, heavily involved in the nuclear program of the government, etc. etc. to make it appear that he was asassinated because of his involvement in the nuclear program and a big supporter of this regime. The fact is, he is not involved in the nuclear program and he is a big supporter of Mir Hossien Mousavi and this killing is a part of terror campaign by the regime. Its very suspicious how fast they blame some groups and making up stories.

The thugs in the Iranian government still waging their campaign of fear, terror and intimidation to silence the opposition even though they knew it is not working. This time, they do it differently. They knew that if they kill the opposition leaders, the green movement will get stronger and there will be more demonstration, protests and chaos on the streets. By killing some people who are close to the leaders, they knew that they still inflict some fears on the mind of the opposition without the fear of bigger protests and at the same time blame it to some groups, and as usual, supported by the US, Western European countries and the Zionist. They are stupid enough to think that they can silence the opposition by their murderous actions.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCecil

[...] Erkenntnisse via enduring america Veröffentlicht in News. Schlagworte: Atomprogramm, Großbritannien, Mohammadi, Moussavi, [...]

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEin Rätsel « FREE IRAN N

anyone heard anything about these television debates?
have they been broadcasted already?

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarolien

The reports on this are another example of sloppy journalism. It isn't difficult to find out what he did - it says so on the university website:

where it lists him as
Elementary Particle Physics, Ph.D., Sharif University of Technology, Iran (1992)

And here is a list of his publications:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony in London


This matches with the information that has emerged during the day. Thank you.


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

The regime has begun to explode the bombs in the streets of the city,like in Irak, spreading fear and terror; oh my god ! poor people of Iran !! one day, in the time of the kings, we would possess glory and honor and now , falling into the wrong hands , we are nothing ! they have to collapse as soon as ! please they have !!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

Here is an article about one of the many health benefits of living in the glorious Islamic Republic of Iran. Bless them for all they have given the Iranian people.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBozorg

Hey Professor Lucas, you're a professor! You can find out which societies publish the journals that Professor Alimohammadi has papers in, and see if any of them had upcoming conferences he might have been going to, where he could have had an opportunity to defect and possibly give a speech and create a lot of media attention. Maybe he wasn't even planning to do that but they thought he might. Worth taking a look at anyway.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev Magdalen

Not that you'd have to be a professor to find that out, I just assume instead of hours of tedious searching ordinary mortals would have to do, as a professor you could just walk across campus and ask some guys ;-)

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev Magdalen

A little Press Tv propaganda about the killed professor .

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidar

Ange Paris,

Scott has already answered your question, which I saw just now. As to your # 15 comment, I agree with you on the first half. Considering all the heavy security measures in Tehran since Ashura, this bombing was certainly staterun.

Cecil has described the situation very accurately. Thanks to him!
To me all of this is a propaganda play between Iranian and Western media to divert our attention from the hard facts just as the growing role and rule of the IRGC, or the closure of Iran's Eastern and Southern borders:

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Rev Magdalen,

A professor, yes, but not as sharp as you. I'll see if EA staff can make time to chase this up. As I am a lowly academic in the humanities, physicists don't talk to me....


January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Prof Lucas, just tell them you'll get them invited to Humanities parties, where there's wine and poetesses!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev Magdalen

Tell the Dean this kind of interdisciplinary cooperative effort looks really good on grant proposals!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev Magdalen

Regarding the 0750 GMT update about the Iranian Cyber Army, I think the latter assessment of them being a private group is most likely. If they are regime connected why haven't they been more active than they have been ? It seems that continued attacks on Twitter and opposition websites would be in the regimes' interest. They're probably just some teen or teens out to get some attention, which, of course, they've managed. They may even be children of some of the Iranian diaspora hence the name and the targets.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

According to PeikIran the mourning mothers have been released.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwhereismyvote

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