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Iran nuclear talks: Why the trust gap is so great

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And in January, chemistry expert Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who was also a procurement director of Iran's largest uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, was killed by a magnetized bomb stuck to his car while in traffic.

After that killing, Iran's deputy UN ambassador Eshagh al-Habib condemned the “terrorist attacks” and told the UN Security Council that Mr. Roshan had recently met with IAEA inspectors, "a fact that indicates that this UN agency may have played a role in leaking information on Iran's nuclear facilities and scientists."

Senior Iranian lawmaker Zohreh Elahian charged that there was "credible evidence" of IAEA involvement in "espionage on our nuclear activities."

The IAEA would not confirm or deny any previous inspector meetings with Roshan to the Monitor, and referred instead to a quote that IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor gave to Reuters shortly after the assassination: "The Agency has not released this man's name. We do not know him."

Two unnamed senior US officials confirmed to NBC News last month that operatives of the opposition Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK, or MKO) who were trained and financed by Israel, had carried out the killings. Such reports confirm earlier claims by Iran – and foster deeper mistrust that pressure on the nuclear issue is a pretext for regime change.

How Roshan may have become a target

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "categorically" denied any American role in the assassination of Roshan. The names of those scientists would have been available by other means to intelligence agencies hostile to Iran, experts say.

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