Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blast kills Iran nuclear expert amid 'covert war'

TEHRAN, Iran — It seemed a clockwork killing: Motorcycle riders flashed by and attached a magnetic bomb onto a car carrying a nuclear scientist working at Iran's main uranium enrichment facility. By the time the blast tore apart the silver Peugeot, the bike was blocks away, weaving through Tehran traffic after what Iran calls the latest strike in an escalating covert war.

The attack Wednesday, which instantly killed the scientist and fatally wounded his driver, was at least the fourth targeted hit against a member of Iran's nuclear brain trust in two years. Tehran quickly blamed Israeli-linked agents backed by the United States and Britain.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denied any U.S. role in the killing, and the Obama administration condemned the attack. However, provocative hints from Jerusalem reinforced the perception of an organized and clandestine campaign to set back Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The day before the attack, Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was quoted as telling a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a "critical year" for Iran — in part because of "things that happen to it unnaturally."

The blast killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemistry expert and a director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, the centerpiece of Iran's expanding program to make nuclear fuel. Roshan, 32, had planned to attend a memorial later Wednesday for another nuclear researcher who was killed in a similar pinpoint blast two years ago, Iranian media said.

"A heinous act," said Iran's Atomic Energy Organization of Wednesday's bombing.

It added a tone of defiance. "We will continue our (nuclear) path without any doubt . . . Our path is irreversible," said the statement carried on state television.

The United States and its allies are pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment, a key element of the nuclear program that the West suspects is aimed at producing atomic weapons.

Iran denies it is trying to make nuclear weapons, saying its program is for peaceful purposes only and is geared toward generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

Comments
Thousands of local students walk out of class in solidarity with Douglas High peers

Thousands of local students walk out of class in solidarity with Douglas High peers

Thousands of high school students across the Tampa Bay area walked out of their classes at noon Wednesday in support of students of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Broward County. During the simultaneous demonstrations, organized over ...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Boys basketball: A look at Thursday’s region games

Boys basketball: A look at Thursday’s region games

All games at 7 p.m. Thursday.Region quarterfinalsClass 9AOrlando Dr. Phillips (18-8) at Alonso (21-6): The Ravens get a home game after winning the school's first district title last week. Sager Cavalier had a monster performance, scoring 30 points a...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Melania Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on ‘chain migration’

Melania Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on ‘chain migration’

The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

PORT CHARLOTTE – Dick Vitale, the Rays most visible and as of late vocal fan, took to Twitter and the 620-AM airwaves Wednesday morning and later in the day in a phone call to the Times to blast his local baseball team.ESPN's lead college baske...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Updated: 12 minutes ago
The brawls new Rays rightfielder Carlos Gomez inspired

The brawls new Rays rightfielder Carlos Gomez inspired

The Rays new rightfielder Carlos Gomez is, as the Times' Rays beat writer Marc Topkin describes him, a "somewhat emotional" player.That reputation in part comes from his role in inspiring a handful of benches-clearing brawls. Here's a look at few of ...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Lawsuit: Dan Mullen, Scott Stricklin motivated by ‘malice and hatred’ toward Ole Miss

Lawsuit: Dan Mullen, Scott Stricklin motivated by ‘malice and hatred’ toward Ole Miss

Fallout from the latest legal twist in one of the SEC's fiercest rivalries reached the Gators this week.Florida football coach Dan Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin are defendants in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Rebel Rags, the Oxford, Miss....
Updated: 14 minutes ago

Updated: 14 minutes ago

River Ridge High School goes to “controlled campus” while investigating gun rumor

River Ridge High School in western Pasco County went into "controlled campus" mode Wednesday morning after a student heard a rumor that someone had brought a gun to campus. It lasted about two hours."We are using an abundance of caution because child...
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Updated: 19 minutes ago