Iran spy chief says CIA had help killing nuclear scientists
Accuses French and German intelligence services, after previously blaming U.K. and Israel
Iran's spy chief on Friday accused French and German intelligence services of co-operating with the CIA to kill Iranian nuclear scientists, an allegation likely to exacerbate tensions between Tehran and the West over the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program.
Heidar Moslehi said that other intelligence services in the region — including that of Iran's arch foe Israel — also took part in the alleged campaign targeting the scientists.
"The recently dismantled networks of assassination and bombing were in co-ordination with main services," Moslehi said. "France, Germany, Israel's Mossad, CIA , MI6 and all regional services served each other," he added.
Until now Iran had previously blamed only the U.S., Britain and Israel over the killing of five nuclear scientists. Earlier this year it said it had dismantled two networks responsible for at least five of the assassinations.
In the most recent case, a magnetic bomb attached to a car killed nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan in January.
The U.S. and Britain have denied involvement in killing Iranian nuclear experts. Israel has not commented.
Earlier this week Iran said it had arrested two Azerbaijani citizens on espionage charges, and in recent months it has accused the neighbouring country of harboring operatives linked to Israel. Baku denies the charge and says its citizens are innocent.
Speaking at a Friday prayer ceremony, Moslehi said other countries in the region were also involved in the campaign, but he did not mention Azerbaijan.
Tensions are already high between Iran and the West, which last week tightened an oil and banking embargo on the country.
Germany and France, alongside the United States, Britain, Russia, and China are negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear program, which the West suspects aims to make a bomb.
Iran denies the charge and says the program is peaceful, designed for power generation and cancer treatment.
Earlier this week, Iran replied to the fresh sanctions with a show of force, launching missiles it says could destroy U.S. bases in the region and strike Israel.
Tehran also threatened to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world's oil supply passes.