Iranian deputy industry minister shot dead in Tehran

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An Iranian deputy minister of industry Safdar Rahmat Abadi was shot dead in Tehran by an unidentified attackeron Sunday, the state news agency IRNA reported

What appears to be the first reported killing of a senior central government official in years was also confirmed by the Mehr semi-official news agency, Reuters reported.

Mehr quoted a police officer as saying that personal motives were probably behind the killing of Abadi who was shot dead in the head and chest as he got into his car in the east of the capital, according to Reuters.

“The likelihood is that the killing of Mr Rahmat Abadi happened through a personal motive and talk of assassinations and political issues is not involved,” Reuters reported from Mehr agency that quoted Colonel Alireza Mehrabi as saying.

The IRNA news agency quoted witnesses as saying the attack occurred at about 7:50 p.m. (1620 GMT).

“Investigations show that two shots were fired from inside the vehicle,” IRNA quoted a police official as saying, according to Reuters.

“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.”

There was no immediate indication that the killing was related to Iran’s nuclear dispute with the West.

There has been a surge of attacks against Iranian military and provincial officials in recent weeks, but Abadi's killing appeared to be the first fatal shooting of a senior central government official in years.

Iranian Sunni Islamists claimed responsibility for the killing of an Iranian prosecutor in Sistan Baluchistan province last week, according to Reuters.

They said it was revenge for the hanging of 16 prisoners carried out by judiciary officials after an attack by the Jaish ul-Adl group of Sunni Islamist militants in which 14 border guards were killed.

Authorities in Tehran have accused Israel and its Western allies of carrying out the assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007. The last such attack happened in January 2012 when one man was killed by a car bomb.

(With Reuters)