Iranian media report that between the hours of 7 and 8 am, two assassination attempts were carried out against the lives of Majid Shahriyari and Fereydoon Abbasi, two Shahid Beheshti University professors.
Security commander of Tehran, Hossein Sajedinia announced that Majid Shahriyari was on his way to the University in a car with his wife and driver when an explosion took his life and injured his two companions.
The other assassination attempt occurred when Fereydoon Abbasi and his wife were in their car which was parked on the street. Both Abbasi and his wife managed to escape the car and just suffered injuries.
Commander Sajedinia reported that bikers approached the cars of the two professors and attached bombs to their cars and later detonated them.
He added that the assailants were not arrested yet, but the police suspect that both attacks were carried out by a particular group.
In reference to whether the assassination attempts could be part of a pattern of assassination attempts against academics, Sajedinia said: “The first similar case occurred a year ago and until today we have not had any other similar cases. Furthermore, the method of assassination in the current cases is not similar to the earlier one; so it is highly unlikely that they are connected.”
At the time, pro-government groups attributed the assassination to US and Israeli elements, whilst Iranian opposition contended that Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was a pro-reformist figure and was assassinated by pro-government forces.
Today state-backed Fars news agency reported that the two professors targeted for assassination were “Basiji professors” and attributed the assassinations to the US. Fars adds that today’s attacks “are due to the enemy’s disappointment in trying to drain Iranian brains from the country.”
ISNA reports that Majid Shahriyari, was a member of the nuclear engineering department of Shahid Beheshti University. The report adds that Massoud Ali-Mohammadi who was assassinated last year was representative of the same project Shahriyari was involved in.
Mashregh news website, another pro-government news outlet reports that Shahriyari was involved in “the theoretic design of the new generation of nuclear reactors.”
The website adds that Fereydoon Abbasi was also involved in Iran’s nuclear activities. It goes on to say: “Abbasi was a member of the Revolutionary Guards since the beginning of the Revolution and was in active duty at the front three times during the Iran-Iraq war.” The report adds that he received his PhD in nuclear physics after the war.
Mashregh writes that Abbasi was part of the Revolutionary Guards’ Emam Hossein University faculty since 17 years ago and was honoured by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his scientific services to the country three years ago.
Ali Akabar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Agency in a message announced that Majid Shahriyari was one of his students and added that his death is the work of enemies who are trying to “put obstacles in front of growth and development of Iran’s educators and scholars.”