Iranian academic’s death condemned

Two former Iranian presidents have condemned a bomb attack that killed a physics professor who had backed the nation’s opposition leader.

They labelled the remote-controlled blast which killed Massoud Ali Mohammadi on Tuesday an act of terrorism, as preparations were under way for his burial.

The separate statements by Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani on Wednesday did not directly accuse any group of the killing.

But each honoured Ali Mohammadi – a 50-year-old researcher and lecturer in quantum physics – as a victim of terrorism.

Khatami, a strong Mousavi backer who has denounced the escalating crackdowns on opposition protesters, said the bomb attack was carried out by groups seeking to “further destabilise the crisis”.

No direct accusations

In a statement of condolence to Ali Mohammadi’s wife posted on Khatami’s website, he said the “ugly face of terrorism” was behind the bombing.

But he did not make any direct accusations.

“The dirty hand who did this murder with no doubt was the enemy of Iran,” Khatami wrote.

His 1997-2005 presidency was marked by efforts at widening Iran’s political and social freedoms.

Rafsanjani’s statement, carried by the semi-official ILNA news agency, called the bombing “cowardly terrorism” and a sign of “a new era of intrigue” in Iran.

Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, has not publicly endorsed the opposition, but has waged political battles…

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