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Masoud Alimohammadi

Born circa 1960
Died January 12, 2010
Tehran, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Fields Particle physics

Masoud Alimohammadi (Persian: مسعود علی‌محمدی) (c. 1960 – 12 January 2010) was an Iranian quantum field theorist and elementary-particle physicist and a distinguished professor of elementary particle physics at Department of Physics of University of Tehran.[1] He was assassinated on the morning of 12 January 2010 (some minutes before 8 o'clock, local time) in front of his home in Tehran, while leaving for university.[2] He was buried in Emamzādeh Ali-Akbar Chizar [3] in Tehran on Thursday 14 January 2010.[4] [5]

Professor Alimohamadi was the first PhD graduate student in physics of the Sharif University of Technology. He published some 53 research articles in peer-reviewed academic journals[6] and wrote and translated several physics textbooks,[7] including Modern Quantum Mechanics, revised edition, by J. J. Sakurai, which he translated from English into Persian in collaboration with Hamidreza Moshfegh.



He entered Shiraz University in 1978 where he obtained his BSc in 1985. He subsequently moved to the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, to study for his MSc in Physics. In 1988 he began with his PhD studies at this University as one of its first PhD students in physics. He obtained his PhD there in 1992.

Research and achievements

He was a quantum field theorist with interests in such diverse fields as Condensed matter physics (Quantum Hall effect in curved geometries), cosmology (modified gravity, dark energy, etc.) and string theory.[8] Although field-theoretical methods have wide-ranging applications in many branches of theoretical physics (and applied mathematics), quantum field theory is a subject matter quite distinct from nuclear physics, in particular its applied branch which is concerned with nuclear power in general and nuclear weapons in particular. Consequently, the reports in some media that Professor Alimohammadi was a nuclear physicist are unequivocally incorrect. Iran's Atomic Energy Agency has in an official statement rejected the media reports that Professor Alimohammadi was associated with Iran's nuclear program.[9]

Professor Alimohammadi was a Council Member of International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East.[10] He was a professor at Tehran University's Physics faculty as well as a professor at Imam Hossein University.[11][12]

Political views

The governmental media portrayed him as a "revolutionary and staunch supporter of Islamic Revolution".[13] It has been claimed by Tehran University’s Basij, or voluntary Islamist student militia, that his name was on a list of sanctioned individuals connected with Iranian nuclear program.[14] but, he was not on a compiled list [15] Mohammadi was among 240 university professors who signed a letter before the 2009 Presidential Election expressing support for the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi.[16]

On reporting his burial, Al-Jazeera's English web site reported on his lack of political involvement deepening the confusion over what motivation could have been behind the murder. They reported, "one of Ali Mohammadi's close friends (was quoted) as saying that the professor was never a political activist," and that, "... Mohammadi had very deep reformist tendencies but never mixed it up with his professional character." Ali Moghara, who heads the physics faculty at Tehran University, said Ali Mohammadi was just a "world famous" physicist who engaged in "no political activity".[17]

Personal life

He was married to Mansoureh Karami (منصوره كرمی).


At 07:58 am, a booby-trapped motorbike parked near his car exploded while he was leaving home in Gheytariyeh neighbourhood of northern Tehran, for university.[18][19] The windows of residences around the scientist's home were shattered by the force of remote controlled explosion, and it has been reported that two other people had also been injured in the blast.[20][21][22]

Initial reports of who has been behind the bombing were disputed. Iranian state media accused Israel and the US of responsibility, while the US State Department called the allegation "absurd".[23] Ynetnews noted, that for the major Israeli news outlet, there is no known connection between his participation in the SESAME, an international synchrotron-radiation facility located in Jordan, and the assassination.[24]

Another source found the assassination of "a 50-year-old researcher with no prominent political voice, no published work with military relevance and no declared links to Iran's nuclear program", as puzzling, although there were comparisons with the disappearance of Shahram Amiri in 2009 and the death of Ardeshir Hosseinpour in 2007.[25]

Iran's English-language Press TV reported that a U.S. based pro-monarchist group, The Iran Royal Association has claimed responsibility for the bombing[26] a claim which other sources say the Association has denied having made.[27]


State investigation

The Iranian government has initiated an investigation and termed the blast a "terror attack with the aim of stalling Iranian scientific progress".[28][29] Iran's Press TV quoted the ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast, "Primary investigations into the assassination revealed signs of the involvement of the Zionist regime of Israel, the US and their allies in Iran". In the same article a professor at Tehran University is quoted as having said, "It is widely believed among colleagues that he was assassinated by terrorist organizations probably supported by the United States and with connections with the Americans and the Israelis under different names".[30] On January 13 2010 Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said, "We had received information a few days before the incident that intelligence services of the Zionist regime of Israel intend to carry out terrorist acts in Tehran in cooperation with the CIA".[31]

Media speculation

According to the state-owned television network Press TV, The Iran Royal Association, an "obscure" group seeking the restoration of the monarchy, claimed that its "Tondar Commandos" are behind the assassination[32]. The BBC's Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne reported: "Iranian media were unusually quick off the mark to report the killing, to show television pictures, and to give the sort of details that usually only emerge after hours, days, or weeks in this secretive state".[33]

A former senior official expressed doubt about the official account of Alimohammadi's assassination, and expressed concern that the assassination could be used as an excuse for violence against opposition protesters: “This is an old trick,” he said. “They did it themselves but blame it on opposition groups so that they can easily begin issuing death sentences for protesters. I think this means there could be more violence against the opposition.”[16]

According to Iranian-Israeli analyst Meir Javedanfar, the assassination may be a part of a covert operation conducted against Iran with the aim of stopping the Iranian nuclear program and also causing embarrassment for the government of Ahmadinejad.[34][35] Flynt Leverett, director of New America Foundation, said it is possible that a group or an individual who has received financial support as part of the $400 million dollar US covert activities program initiated under Bush administration against Iran, might have carried out the assassination.[36]

See also


  1. ^ Official Website of Professor Masoud Alimohammadi at Department of Physics of University of Tehran.
  2. ^ "Bomb kills Iran nuclear physicist tied to Mousavi". Associated Press. 2010-01-12.  
  3. ^ Emamzādeh Ali-Akbar Chizar, in Persian, Ketāb-e Awwal.
    - Chizar, Persian Wikipedia.
  4. ^ The body of martyr Masoud Alimohammadi was laid to rest in Tehran's Ali-Akbar Shrine, in Persian, Bornā News Agency, Thursday 14 January 2010.
  5. ^ Photographs: The funeral procession of Professor Masoud Alimohammadi, Tābnāk, Thursday 14 January 2010.
  6. ^ List of publications of Professor Masoud Alimohammadi as presented on the website of Department of Physics of University of Tehran: [1].
  7. ^ "His books on Quantum Mechanics and Electromagnetism, in Persian.".  
  8. ^ "List of publications.".  
  9. ^ Alimohammadi was not employed by us, in Persian, Tābnāk, 12 January 2010.
  10. ^ "The list of SESAME council members.".  
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  16. ^ a b
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  23. ^ Israel and US behind Tehran blast – Iranian state media, BBC, 2010/01/13
  24. ^,7340,L-3833674,00.html
  25. ^ Iran Nuclear Physicist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, Killed By Bomb 12-1-2010
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External links


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