Iranians point to a high-profile example from the past, when UNSCOM was tasked with disarming Iraq in the 1990s. The CIA used UNSCOM for its own purposes, to create a secret parallel communications network to spy on Iraqi military moves, and in 1996 even planned a coup attempt against Saddam Hussein to coincide with an UNSCOM inspection.
Experts on the IAEA say that despite numerous past leaks by the agency, that confidential information may not have pinpointed scientists, who could have been identified by other means.
Yet Iran formally complained to the IAEA in June 2010 that "leakage of confidential information" had gone on "quite a while," and was "profoundly in violation" of Iran's Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, which requires protection of such "secrets."
The first scientist to be killed, a senior physics professor, died in January 2010, when a bomb-rigged motorcycle blew up near his car.
In November 2010 – the same month that another Iranian nuclear scientist was killed, and yet a third wounded in back-to-back bomb attacks in Tehran – IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano circulated an internal note on information security.
Following up in a March 2011 speech, Mr. Amano said the IAEA "continued to raise staff awareness of the vital importance of respecting confidentiality." He noted that 2,000 staff and contractors from the agency had passed a "mandatory information security test," and declared that the IAEA followed the "best practice in all aspects of information security."
Since then, in July 2011 in Tehran, gunmen on a motorcycle killed an Iranian electronics student, described in some news reports as working on high-voltage switches with a nuclear weapons use.