Tehran: An Iranian accused of assassinating a scientist on behalf of Israel has been sentenced to death, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported on Sunday.
Majid Jamali-Fashi had pleaded guilty to murdering Massoud Ali-Mohammadi in January 2010, the first of several attacks on scientists which Iran said were the work of enemies that wished to stop it developing nuclear technology.
The prosecution said Jamali-Fashi had travelled to Israel to receive training from the Mossad intelligence agency, and had been paid USD 120,000 for the assassination.
IRNA quoted a judiciary spokesman as saying he had been condemned to death for "waging war against God" and being "corrupt on Earth”, both capital offences under Iran's strict form of Islamic law.
Although IRNA described Ali-Mohammadi as a nuclear scientist, a spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said in the days after his death that he had not played a role in the activities of the organisation.
An Iranian opposition website said at the time that Ali-Mohammadi was an opposition supporter who had backed moderate candidate Mirhossein Mousavi in the disputed June 2009 Presidential Election, suggesting there may be other possible motives for his murder.
Eleven months after the bomb attack that killed Ali-Mohammadi as he set off to work, two other scientists were targeted.
Majid Shahriyari, who authorities said had a role in one of Iran's biggest nuclear projects, was killed but Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani survived and has since been appointed head of the Iranian nuclear organisation.
Washington has denied any involvement in the murders and Israel has declined to comment.
First Published: Monday, August 29, 2011, 12:51