Iran names attacked scientist nuclear chief

TEHRAN: An Iranian nuclear scientist who survived an assassination attempt last November has been appointed Iran’s new nuclear chief, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday.Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani was slightly wounded by one of two bomb attacks on November 29. The other attack killed another nuclear scientist. Tehran said the double-bombing was an Israeli operation aimed at harming its nuclear programme.Abbasi-Davani, head of physics at Imam Hossein University, has been personally subjected to UN sanctions because of what western officials said was his involvement in suspected nuclear weapons research. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a decree issued on Sunday, appointed Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani as vice-president and head of the Atomic Energy Organisation,” Fars said.

The position as one of Ahmadinejad’s deputies comes as part of the job and reflects the importance of the role in the Islamic Republic where the pursuit of nuclear technology is seen as a totem of resistance against the United States and Israel. Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and asserts it has a right to peaceful atomic power. But international concerns about its activities have led to four rounds of UN sanctions and tougher unilateral measures from Washington and Europe.Abbasi-Davani replaces Ali Akbar Salehi who was made foreign minister in December. The last talks between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain stalled, leaving the possibility of fresh sanctions – Dailytimes