Iran blamed US, Israel for killing of scientist

Several nuclear scientists have been assassinated in Iran in the last few years.

Updated: Jul 24, 2011, 15:52 PM IST

Tehran: A senior Iranian official on Sunday blamed the United States and Israel for the assassination of an Iranian scientist, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Darioush Rezaie, 35, a university lecturer with a physics doctorate, was shot dead by a motorcyclist in Tehran on Saturday. The student news agency ISNA quoted an unnamed police official as saying Rezaie was a nuclear scientist but Deputy Interior Minister Safarali Baratlou said this was not certain.

"The terrorist US-Israeli action yesterday, which targeted one of the country`s scientific elites, is another example of the level of the US animosity (against Iran), said parliament speaker Ali Larijani in a speech to the legislative body.

Iran`s security apparatus is investigating the assassination, but no arrests have been reported.

Larijani also blamed "American adventurism" for the deaths on Friday of a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards corps and five others in a land mine explosion on a road.

"The Americans who regard such measures in their so-called world management as permissible should think well about the consequences," Larijani said.

There has been no claim of responsibility for Rezaie`s killing. Several nuclear scientists have been assassinated in Iran in the last few years. One scientist was killed and another wounded in Tehran in November.

Iran is at odds with the United States and its allies over its nuclear program, which the West says is a cover to build bombs. Iran, a major oil producer, denies this and says it is enriching uranium solely for civilian purposes.

Tehran`s refusal to halt its enrichment work has led to the imposition of several rounds of sanctions by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.

Bureau Report
Heavy rains soak Chicago as east coast steams

Chicago: Overnight rains dumped nearly 7 inches of rain on Chicago early Saturday, breaking a record for the city, cancelling flights, and causing parts of highways and train lines to shut down.

Meanwhile East Coast and Central states continued to steam in oppressive heat, though some relief is expected Sunday and Monday.

The rainfall measured at O`Hare International Airport beat all Chicago records for the wettest calendar day, at 6.86 inches, over the last record of 6.65 inches on September 13, 2008, according to the National Weather Service.

Airlines at O`Hare canceled over 100 flights, according to the city`s aviation department.

The rain caused Chicago`s Lake Michigan beaches to close for swimming after the area`s water reclamation district opened locks at two locations, risking a possible release of stormwater and sewage into the lake, according to the Chicago Park District.

The storm also knocked out power for tens of thousands of ComEd customers.

While rains have closed parts of highway lanes in the Chicago area before, Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell said there had been "nothing this widespread in quite some time."

"Virtually every part of the system was touched," said Tridgell. "It was literally a case of too much water in a short time period for the storm sewers to handle."

City personnel responded to multiple reports of motorists stranded in vehicles caught in fast-moving flood water, according to the city`s Office of Emergency Management. A Chicago Fire Department boat rescued two stranded truckers.

The storm also closed parts of Chicago Transit Authority lines, due to water on tracks, according to CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis.

While Chicago dealt with too much water, Arkansas was preparing for forest fires due to drought. Two single-engine air tankers are on standby in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which is near several national forests. The second one arrived Saturday.

"Areas in the state have not received any significant rainfall for a couple of months," said Don McBride, Assistant State Forester-Protection, in a statement. Since June 1, Arkansas Forestry Commission crews have suppressed 364 wildfires.

HEAT WARNINGS IN EFFECT

Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories were in effect Saturday for much of the central U.S. and Ohio Valley, as well as areas from the eastern Carolinas northward into New York City, according to NWS.

High temperatures, combined with humidity, were expected to create heat index values of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 C) during the afternoon, the NWS said. On Friday, all-time record highs were set in Newark, N.J. at 108 degrees (42.2C) and Dulles, Va. at 105 degrees F (40.6C).

The heat roasted the Midwest for nearly a week, and is potentially responsible for 34 deaths in 10 states, according to NWS.

NWS meteorologist Heather Sheffield in Washington, D.C. said the area expected a weak cold front coming through Sunday through Monday, "which will give us some relief, but not much."

Bureau Report