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Backgrounder: Assassinated, kidnapped Iranian nuclear experts in recent years

(Xinhua)

11:20, January 12, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- A bomb blast killed one Iranian nuclear expert and injured two others in Tehran on Wednesday morning. Assassinations and kidnappings targeting nuclear scientists have been frequent in Iran since 2007.

In January 2007, famous Iranian nuclear physicist Ardeshir Hoseynpur died from gas poisoning. Iran blamed this incident on the Israeli intelligence agency.

Hoseynpur, who was a key figure in Iran's uranium enrichment program,won an importance prize for scientific research in 2004 in Iran and a prize in Iran's international science festival in 2006.

In June 2009, Iran's nuclear expert Shahram Amiri, who was a member of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and a researcher in a university in Tehran, disappeared during a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Iran insisted that Amiri was kidnapped by American agents, and they strongly condemned the U.S. government.

The U.S. media reported at the end of March 2010 that Amiri had defected to the American side to help the CIA assess Iran's nuclear capability.

After having disappeared for more than one year, Amiri returned to Tehran with Iran's unremitting efforts in July 2010.

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