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Iran hangs 'Israel spy' over nuclear scientist killing

Majid Jamali Fashi, left, appears at his trial at the revolutionary court in Tehran on August 23, 2011.
Majid Jamali Fashi, left, appears at his trial at the revolutionary court in Tehran on August 23, 2011.Raheb Homavandi / Reuters, file

Iran has hanged a man it said was an agent for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad whom it convicted of killing one of its nuclear scientists in 2010, Iranian state media reported on Tuesday.

Twenty-four year old Majid Jamali Fashi was hanged at Tehran's Evin Prison after being sentenced to death in August last year for the murder of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted the central prosecutor's office as saying. It said he had confessed to the crime.

The BBC reported that Fashi was accused of being a spy for Mossad and receiving $120,000 for the killing.

Ali-Mohammadi was killed in January 2010 when a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle outside his home in Tehran went off.

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Tuesday's IRNA report said Fashi had travelled abroad on several occasions to receive training from Mossad before returning to Iran to plot the assassination.

Azerbaijan news site, Trend, said Fashi was 26 years old and had also been accused of drug trafficking.

Yet Western analysts said Ali-Mohammadi, a 50-year-old Tehran University professor, had little, if any, role in Iran's sensitive nuclear program. A spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said at the time he was not involved in its activities.

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The most recent attack on an Iranian scientist occurred in January. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan - a deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility - was killed when a magnetic bomb planted on his vehicle detonated.

The BBC said sources in Iran have accused the government of killing Professor Mohammadi because he was an opposition supporter.

Tehran has accused Israel and the United States of involvement in the killing in order to sabotage its controversial nuclear program. Washington has denied any U.S. role, while Israel has declined to comment. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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