Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has accused the United States and Israel of orchestrating the assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran this week.
His accusation against the U.S. and Israeli espionage services was the strongest yet by Iran's regime following killing on January 11 of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.
In the message of condolence to Roshan's family Khamenei said that the assassination “was committed like the other crimes with the planning or support of the intelligence services of the CIA and Mossad.”
The letter was posted on Khamenei’s website.
Khamenei said Iran's nuclear program "does not depend on any one person" and "we are going to continue with determination and energy on this path."
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaking to soldiers at Fort Bliss in Texas, maintained that the United States had nothing to do with the killing.
"We were not involved in any way -- in any way -- with regards to the assassination that took place [in Iran]," he said. "I'm not sure of who was involved...But I can tell you one thing: the United States was not involved in that kind of effort. That's not what the United States does."
Roshan died when two riders on a motorbike drove by his car in Tehran and attached a magnetic bomb onto it which triggered a deadly blast inside the vehicle.
compiled from agency reports