Iran blames CIA, Mossad as it buries slain scientist

Iran accused Israel and the United States of killing one of its top scientists as part of an increasingly contentious campaign against its nuclear programme as it prepared to bury him today.

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a deputy director of Iran's main uranium enrichment plant, was killed on Wednesday when two men on a motorbike slapped a magnetic bomb on his car while it was stuck in Tehran traffic.

His funeral was to be be held after midday prayers, state media reported.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the "abominable" and "cowardly" killing was committed "with the planning or support of the intelligence services of the CIA and Mossad," of the United States and Israel.

He said in a statement his country would "continue with determination" its nuclear activities, which Western governments suspect mask a drive for a weapons capability despite Tehran's repeated denials.

Some media close to Iran's conservatives have called for "retaliation" against Israeli officials. The Iranian government has demanded that the UN Security Council condemn the "terrorist" killing.

The United States has strongly denied it had anything to do with the assassination, although Defence Secretary Leon Panetta admitted: "We have some ideas as to who might be involved."

The prime suspect is widely seen as Israel, as it was in the murders of three other Iranian scientists in similar circumstances over the past two years. Israel, though, has a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

Asked in a CNN interview today if Israel was involved in Wednesday's assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran, President Shimon Peres said: "Not to the best of my knowledge."

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