Tehran has denied recent reports that an Iranian nuclear scientist had been "assassinated" by Israeli security service Mossad, local Fars news agency reported on Sunday.
Ardeshire Hassanpour, a 44-year-old Iranian nuclear physicist, had been "suffocated by fumes from a faulty gas fire in sleep," Fars quoted an unidentified "informed source" as saying, denying his "assassination" by Mossad as some reports said.
The source added that Hassanpour had been a Shiraz University professor and was in no way connected to Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in the country's central city of Isfahan.
British newspaper The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that the prize-winning Iranian nuclear scientist has died in mysterious circumstances and an intelligence source suggested that he had been assassinated by Mossad.
Quoting Radio Farda, which is funded by the U.S. State Department and broadcasts to Iran, the British newspaper said Hassanpour worked at a plant in Isfahan where uranium hexafluoride gas is produced.
The report added that Iran announced his death on Jan. 21 after a delay of six days, giving the cause as "gas poisoning."
Hassanpour won Iran's leading military research prize in 2004 and was awarded top prize at the Kharazmi international science festival in Iran last year.
Rheva Bhalla of Stratfor, the U.S. intelligence company, claimed on Friday that Hassanpour had been targeted by Mossad and that there was "very strong intelligence" to suggest that he had been assassinated by the Israelis.
But in the Fars report, the Iranian source strongly denied the theory, saying that the Israeli intelligence agency "is basically incapable of running operations inside Iran."
"Such reports are released to serve propaganda purposes," he said, adding that "Iran's nuclear scientists are continuing their efforts to master civilian nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."
Earlier on Sunday, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Iranian vice president and head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, also denied the reports, saying that all the country's "nuclear experts, thank God, are sound and safe."
According to Fars, Aghazadeh said that no such person called Ardeshire Hassanpour had been among his employees.