Washington: The United States on Monday
denied Iranian accusations it assassinated a scientist and
urged the Islamic regime not to use the incident to "distract
attention" from its contested nuclear program.
Assailants shot dead Dariush Rezaei-Nejad, who was
reportedly associated with the defense ministry, and wounded
his wife as they waited for their child outside a Tehran
kindergarten on Saturday.
Iran`s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, accused the
United States and Israel of a "terrorist act."
"We were not involved," State Department spokeswoman
Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington.
"Our sympathies are obviously with the family of the
victim. We condemn any assassination or attack on... an
innocent person," she said.
"It`s frequent practice for Tehran to accuse the West
for these kinds of incidents and we hope that Tehran is not
planning to use this incident to distract attention from what
it needs to do, which is to come back into compliance with
international obligations," she said.
The United Nations has imposed four rounds of
sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium
enrichment. Western nations accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear
bomb, while Tehran insists its nuclear drive is for civilian
Several Iranian nuclear scientists have disappeared in
recent years or been targeted in attacks. Iranian media
initially said Rezaei-Nejad worked for the Atomic Energy
Organization of Iran but on Sunday presented him without
explanation as an "electronics master`s student."