The New York Times reported Monday that Iran believes Israel killed two Iranian scientists with poison amid a spate of suspected Israeli assassinations inside the Islamic Republic.
An Iranian official and people with ties to the government told the Times that Ayoub Entezari, an Iranian aeronautical engineer who worked for a military research center, and Kamran Aghamolaei, a geologist, were both poisoned separately at the end of May and died within a few days of falling ill.
Adding to the suspicion that Israel was responsible, Israeli media reported that Aghamolaei worked at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, a site of frequent Israeli covert attacks. But people close to Aghamolaei deny the claim and say that he worked for a private geological research company.
Last month, the Times reported that Israel is suspected of being behind a May 25 drone attack on an Iranian military facility outside of Tehran that killed a young Iranian engineer. Israel is the likely culprit since it has launched similar attacks on Iranian facilities in the past.
A few days before the drone attack, on May 22, a colonel in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was gunned down in Tehran. Iran formally blamed Israel for the assassination, and the Times reported that Israel told the US it was responsible.
The mysterious deaths inside Iran continue as Iranian media reported that two men working for the IRGC in the aerospace industry died while on unspecified missions over the weekend. Both deaths were labeled as “martyrdoms,” suggesting Iran believes they were killed.
While it’s not known if the Israelis are responsible for all of the deaths, it’s clear that Israel is ramping up its covert war against Iran. At the same time, Israel has been claiming Iran is plotting attacks against Israeli citizens in foreign countries.
In the latest warning, Israel told its citizens to leave Turkey due to alleged threats from Iranian operatives. But the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Monday that any “response” Iran would make against Israel would not be in a third country.
“If we will want to respond to Israel’s activities, our answer will be given in its place and not in a third country,” said Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh.