Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rejected reports that the head of the country’s cyber warfare program had been assassinated, saying only that it was probing the death of an employee it didn’t identify.
Quoting cabinet minister and former Shin Bet intelligence chief Yaakov Peri, the Times of Israel reported
that Iranian Cyber War Headquarters commander Mojtaba Ahmadi, who was recently found dead northwest of Tehran, had been assassinated.
Ahmadi had gone missing on Saturday. His body was discovered in a wooded area near the town of Karaj.
He had been shot twice through the heart at close range by two people on a motorbike, Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported, quoting Alborz, a website linked to the Revolutionary Guards.
“I could see two bullet wounds on his body and the extent of his injuries indicated that he had been assassinated from a close range with a pistol,” an eyewitness was quoted as telling the Iranian website.
But Iran's rulers denied the report.
“This statement denies all the news about assassinating one of our workers after a very sudden incident happened to him,” the Imam Hassan Mojtaba division of the Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement on the Alborz website. “We are investigating the incident and the intention of the attacker or attackers.”
The Revolutionary Guards, which didn’t provide the name or rank held by the dead man, said his body was found near Karaj, a town northwest of Tehran, according to the statement on Alborz. Iran has accused Western powers of assassinating at least three of its nuclear scientists since 2010, a charge the U.S. State Department has denied.
Amid international concerns that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology may enable it to build nuclear weapons, U.S. President Barack Obama and his allies in Europe squeezed Iran’s economy with tighter sanctions, leading to a slump in the nation’s oil to the lowest level since 1990. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly last week his nation is ready to enter talks about its atomic activity “without delay.”
Iran says its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes.
While Rouhani rejected Obama’s offer for an informal meeting in New York, Obama and Rouhani spoke for 15 minutes with the help of interpreters Sept. 27. The conversation, the first of its kind between leaders of the two nations since 1979, was mainly about the “nuclear issue,” Rouhani told reporters Sept. 30.
Rouhani took office in August after pledging to govern with moderation and to seek an easing of sanctions on his country by engaging with the West, including the U.S.
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