© AP PhotoAn Iranian nuclear scientist was killed and another injured in Tehran today. The physicists were targeted by cowardly Mossad agents riding motorcycles
An Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed and another injured in separate attacks in Tehran today.

The scientists were targeted in two different locations by men riding motorcycles who attached bombs to their car windows as they drove to work.

One device killed Dr Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at the Tehran University, and wounded his wife.

The second blast seriously wounded nuclear physicist Dr Fereidoun Abbasi. His wife was also injured.

Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Dr Shahriari was involved in a major project at the country's chief nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics.

State television swiftly blamed Israel for the attacks.

At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years in what Iran has alleged is part of a covert attempt by the West to damage its controversial nuclear program.

One of those two, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was killed in an attack similar to today's in January.

Mr Mohammadi, a 50-year-old professor from Tehran University, had just left his house on his way to work when a remote-controlled bomb rigged to a motorbike exploded.

'Don't play with fire. The patience of the Iranian nation has limits. If it runs out of patience, bad consequences will await enemies,' the official news agency IRNA quoted Mr Salehi as saying as he met Dr Abbasi at his hospital bedside.

Mr Salehi, one of Iran's vice presidents, was apparently referring to Israel and the U.S., which Iran alleges are trying to damage its nuclear program.

Tehran's uranium enrichment programme is at the center of a bitter row between Iran on one side and the U.S. and its allies on the other. Uranium enrichment is a process that can be used to produce both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

A number of world powers suspect Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons, an allegation the government denies.

Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment has brought on multiple rounds of U.N. sanctions against the country.

Washington has strongly denied allegations of links to previous attacks. There are several active armed groups that oppose Iran's ruling clerics, but it's unclear whether they could have carried out the apparently coordinated bombings in the capital.

Most anti-government violence in recent years has been isolated to Iran's provinces such as the border with Pakistan where Sunni rebels are active and the western mountains near Iraq where Kurdish separatists operate.

The assailants, who escaped, drove by their targets on motorcycles and attached the bombs as the cars were moving. They exploded shortly thereafter, state television reported.

Dr Shahriari, the scientist who was killed, was a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was wounded.

Dr Salehi, the nuclear chief who also heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Shahriari was one of his students and his death was a big loss.

He said: 'Shahriari had good cooperation with the AEOI. He was involved in one of the big AEOI projects which is a source of pride for the Iranian nation.'

He didn't provide any details on the project. But the AEOI is involved in Iran's uranium enrichment program.

Dr Salehi added: 'The enemy took our dearest flower, but must know that this nation, through resistance and all its might, will make efforts to remove problems and achieve its desires.'

A second, separate attack in the capital Tehran wounded nuclear physicist Dr Abbasi. His wife was also in the car with him, and she was also wounded.

A pro-government website,, said Abbasi held a PhD in nuclear physics and was a laser expert at Iran's Defence Ministry and one of few top Iranian specialists in nuclear isotope separation.

Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium from enriched uranium. This is a crucial process in the manufacture of uranium fuel for nuclear power stations, and is also required for the creation of uranium-based nuclear weapons.

The site said Abbasi has long been a member of the Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force. It said he was also a lecturer at Imam Hossein University, affiliated to the Guard.

The attacks bore close similarities to another in January that killed Tehran University professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a senior physics professor. He was killed when a bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his car as he was about to leave for work.

In 2007, state television reported that nuclear scientist Ardeshir Hosseinpour died from gas poisoning. A one-week delay in the reporting of his death prompted speculation about the cause, including that Israel's Mossad spy agency was to blame.

Iran has continued to state clearly that its nuclear program is under constant attack from the West and its allies. These include alleged abductions of nuclear officials and, more recently, a computer worm known as Stuxnet that experts say was calibrated to destroy uranium-enrichment centrifuges by sending them spinning out of control. Iran says its experts stopped Stuxnet from affecting systems at its nuclear facilities.