Iranian deputy minister shot dead in Tehran
Deputy minister Safdar Rahmat Abadi was shot dead on Sunday evening. (Image courtesy of Naharnet)
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An Iranian deputy minister was shot dead in Tehran on Sunday, the state news agency IRNA reported, An unidentified attacker is responsible for what appears to be the first reported killing of a senior central government official in years.
Safdar Rahmat Abadi, deputy minister of industry, was shot in the chest and head while getting into his car just east of the capital, IRNA said. Witnesses said the attack happened at about 7:50 p.m. (1620 GMT) as reported by Reuters.
"Investigations show that two shots were fired from inside the vehicle," the agency quoted a police official as saying.
"That two shells were found inside the car shows a strong likelihood that the assailant was inside the car and in conversation with Mr Abadi. There was no sign of struggle at the scene of the killing."
No arrests have been made at this time. Special homicide investigator and criminal prosecutor were at the scene, reported ISNA.
While there have been a rise in attacks on Iranian military and local officials recently, this is the first killing of a senior central government official in several years.
In what was called a revenge attack for the recent hanging of 16 prisoners, Iranian Sunni Islamists killed an Iranian prosecutor on the case in Sistan Baluchistan province last week. The prisoners were charged with as criminals for an attack, carried out by the Jaish ul-Adl group of Sunni Islamist militants, in which 14 border guards were killed.
There was no indication that the murder had anything to do with Iran's nuclear dispute with the US and Washington is reporting that they have no more updated news on the circumstances around the death.
In recent years, authorities in Iran have accused Israel and its Western allies of being responsible for assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007. The last instance of an attack happened in January 2012 when a car bomb killed one man.
Israel has not commented and the United States has denied any role in these killings.
While Iran claims that their atomic exploration is only peaceful in nature, Israel sees Iran's nuclear activities as a threat to its existence. It has urged the West to force Tehran to stop production of its nuclear program.