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IRAN: Amid tight security, tensions mount at scientist's funeral


Around 9 a.m. this morning a gray Mercedes hearse brought the body of slain Iranian scientist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi to his home for a funeral procession that, like many other recent events, became a display of  the political cleavages within Iranian society. 

The Tehran University professor was killed Tuesday in a mysterious bomb blast that government officials immediately blamed on Israel and the United States as part of a plot to slow Iran's nuclear program. Some of his students, colleagues and opposition news outlets, however, pointed out that his field of expertise in theoretical particle physics would hold little importance for the West, while his role as a campus supporter of the opposition made him a person of interest for hard-liners.

They suggested he was among the many Iranians assassinated by suspected hard-line vigilantes over the years for his reformist political views and activities.

In any case, security forces were prepared for any kind of confrontation, with armored police vehicles and motorcycles associated with pro-government militia members surrounding the area.

Standing all around were plainclothes security officers and uniformed police in riot gear. Some held cameras, recording those who arrived. 

Several hundred government supporters had flooded the street, setting up loudspeakers and chanting slogans against Israel and the United States.

Ali-Mohammadi's body was taken out of the hearse and carried into his north Tehran home.

A few minutes later, a group of several hundred students and scholars, most of them from the Tehran University physics department where he worked, arrived, carrying a banner that described Ali-Mohammadi as a martyr. They surveyed the scene.

One university teacher shouted out. "We will follow them," he said, pointing to the other crowd. "But we keep our distance from them. We are representing Tehran University."

Police became agitated. They tried to persuade the Tehran University crowd to join the others in the procession. 

But the students and academics resisted and kept their slow pace to assure their distance, and refused to take part in the sloganeering. 

"La ilaha illallah," they whispered over and over. "There is no god but Allah."

Next, some of the plainclothes security officials, bearded men in walkie-talkies, approached the Tehran University crowd, asking them to join the official procession. But they refused. A scuffle broke out. A few people were briefly detained. 

Buses shuttled the government supporters to the burial at a nearby shrine. 

Again loudspeakers on pick-up trucks trumpeted anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli slogans.A martial band played religious music. 

When the Tehran University contingent arrived, someone shouted, "Death to this demagogic government!"

Immediately, government supporters began chanting "Death to the hypocrites! Death to America! Death to Israel."

Again scuffles broke out, but the Tehran University crowd hushed their hotheads.

There were no reported arrests.

Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: An Iranian woman attends the funeral of Prof. Massoud Ali-Mohammadi at his home in north Tehran. Credit: Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images

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June 12, 2016

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, missing for more than half a decade, died last week at the hands of an assassin.

He’d been living quietly in St. Joseph, Missouri under the pseudonym Robert B. McCoy. According to investigators, he’d taken in a former colleague, Mahdi Mostafavi. Friends say Mister Mostafavi, who'd legally changed his name to LeRoy Neiman, had fallen on hard times after the collapse of the Iranian Theocracy and Ahmadinejad was letting him stay in the Victorian-style home he had leased in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood. At ten in the morning on the day of his death, Ahmadinejad was on a ladder hanging a print of da Vinci's The Last Supper when Mister Mostafavi entered with a pistol, shouted, "Sic semper tyrannis!" and fired two shots and fled. Ahmadinejad’s fourth wife, Candy, heard the shots and called police. She reported his last words to be "Rosebud." No one seems to know what that means.

To put it bluntly, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was an anomaly, a mystery wrapped in an enigma slowly sinking into a deep muddy quagmire. Beloved by many, hated by more, there was never a dull moment when he was on the scene. What were the influences in his life? What social forces propelled him to become the most talked-about man in Iran, the man 99% of Persian women voted as "the guy least likely to get a...


The fast arbitrariness of branding quite a number of the “enemies of Iran” as assassins has obviously renounced investigativen journalism and respectable results of a serious criminal investigation. The USA, even Israel know that the death of an individual nuclear physicist cannot stop a nuclear project. The accused resistance-group has disclaimed any responsibility. The field of research of the late scientist and his political sympathies were wilfully presented incorrectly. The version of the foreign-steered slaying reminds of propaganda topoi of German and Soviet-Russian totalitarian history.
The message to the population: Iran is being molested, is being attacked by its enemies because of its striving for independence (atomic program), is at war. This dramatizing interpretation aims at two different objectives: The Iranians must move closer together and support their current rulers. Tougher measures against the representatives of the foreign “enemies”, i.e. the opposition, are inevitable.


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