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29 January 2012 - 23:35

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman has blasted the recent arrest of an Iranian professor in the United States for allegedly buying high-tech American lab equipment.

Ramin Mehmanparast said Sunday the US government's measures against Iranian scientists aim to hamper the country's scientific progress.

“Such measures are in line with the inhuman policy of assassinating Iranian scientists and reveal the deceptive nature of Washington's allegations against the Iranian nation,” he added.

A number of Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in the past two years as tension escalates between Tehran and Western countries over Iran's nuclear program.

In the latest instance, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, an official at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, was killed in Tehran when a bomb was stuck to his car by operatives working for Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad.

Mehmanparast emphasized that laying traps for Iranian citizens in the US and other Western countries has become a routine procedure for the intelligence agencies of these countries.

He added that Iran's Foreign Ministry has taken necessary measures via its interest section in Washington and through meetings with Swiss Embassy officials in Iran, which serves as the US interest section, to secure immediate release of Professor Mojtaba Atarodi.

Mehmanparast said the US court has set a heavy bail of USD 480,000 to change Atarodi's arrest warrant to house arrest as he suffers from severe cardiac disease.

The 54-year-old scientist is being held at a federal prison in California.

He is a microchip expert and assistant professor at Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology. He is the author or coauthor of dozens of scientific papers dealing with microchip technology.

Atarodi was detained on December 7 after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles.

He has been reportedly charged for violating US export law by buying lab equipment.
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