Saturday, June 23, 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
Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

The Lightning is on the board in the 2018 NHL draft, using their first pick — 59th overall in the second round — on Gabriel Fortier, an undersize left wing from Quebec."I spoke with them a couple of times, so I knew there was an interest,...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

After hanging on for a 2-1 last night over the MLB-best Yankees, the Rays are looking to make it two in a row today.And their lineup will have a different look, with INF Joey Wendle making his first career appearance,  majors or minors, in the o...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
‘Notorious RBG’ wanted to be a singer. Now, a CD celebrates her life.

‘Notorious RBG’ wanted to be a singer. Now, a CD celebrates her life.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said, in interviews, that she would have loved to have been an opera singer.She has certainly become a fixture at many opera houses around the country: She is often spotted in the audience; she sometimes presides...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: England seeks clarity on VAR at World Cup

The Latest: England seeks clarity on VAR at World Cup

The England team has asked for clarity from FIFA over the application of video replays at the World Cup after concerns about penalty decisions in the victory over Tunisia
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledges in a tweet that she was booted from a Virginia restaurant Friday night because she works for President Donald Trump
Updated: 1 hour ago

Argentina: cocaine seized in World Cup trophy replicas

The security minister of Buenos Aires province said Friday that police have broken up an organization that trafficked marijuana and cocaine in fake World Cup trophies.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Protests, facility visits planned amid immigration confusion

Protests, facility visits planned amid immigration confusion

Protests and rallies focused around the separation of families at the US-Mexico border are scheduled this weekend, while more than two dozen congressional Democrats plan to visit detention facilities in Texas
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 12:14 p.m. EDT

AP Top News at 12:14 p.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago