He specialized in neutron transport, a phenomenon that lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in reactors and bombs. According to The Guardian, he "had no known links to banned nuclear work". According to Al Jazeera he "was a quantum physicist and was not a political figure at all" and he "was not involved in Iran's nuclear programme".
Some Iranian media reports said he taught at the Supreme National Defense University, which is run by the Iranian Army, according to the New York Times. Shahriari published dozens of esoteric conference reports and peer-reviewed articles on nuclear research.
On 29 November 2010, unidentified assailants riding motorcycles launched separate bomb attacks, killing Shahriari and injuring nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi, a professor at Shahid Beheshti University where Shahriari also taught. Dr. Abbasi's wife was also hurt. The killers had attached bombs to the professors' cars and detonated them from a distance.
Iranian officials have variously blamed Israel and the United States for assassinating Shahriari. Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted as saying Western nations "exercise terrorism to liquidate Iran's nuclear scientists".
Time magazine ran an article questioning whether this action was perpetrated by Mossad (Israeli's external intelligence service). According to The Daily Telegraph (UK), Israel allegedly planned to conduct covert operations against Iran, including assassinations.
- L.A. Times: "Nuclear scientist killed by bomb in Iran", 30 November 2010
- The Guardian: Attack on Iranian nuclear scientists prompts hit squad claims.
- Iranian 'nuclear scientist' killed
- "Is the Mossad Targeting Iran's Nuclear Scientists?". Time. 30 November 2010.
- "Bombings Hit Atomic Experts in Iran Streets". New York Times. 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
- BBC: Iranian nuclear scientist killed in motorbike attack.
- George Jahn (25 January 2011). "Iran accuses West of 'nuclear terrorism'". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Sherwell, Philip (16 February 2009). "Israel launches covert war against Iran". The Daily Telegraph (London).