Five Russian scientists who helped Iran with nuclear secrets were among 45 killed in plane crash
Five Russian scientists who died in a plane crash on Tuesday had been helping Iran with nuclear secrets, it has been revealed.
They were among 45 killed when the plane's lights failed in heavy fog and careered into a motorway in north-west Russia before bursting into flames - leading conspiracy theorists to believe it was a deliberate plot to kill the nuclear experts.
Russian security sources confirmed that the dead scientists worked at the controversial Bushehr nuclear plant on the Iranian Persian Gulf.
Killed (l to r): Three of the five Russian scientists who died in a plane crash were named as Sergey Ryzhov, Gennady Banyuk and Nikolay Trunov. All had worked at Iran's controversial Bushehr nuclear power plant
Mysterious: Rescue personnel stand near the crash scene, which killed five eminent Russian scientists, minutes after the aircraft came down on a motorway
Due to open this year, the nuclear facility has been worked on since 1975, and has raised international concerns that it may be used to covertly build nuclear weapons for Iran.
But despite the controversial project, Russia still believe that it was poor weather and pilot error that caused the crash rather than foul play.
Among the dead scientists was Andrei Trokinov, one of Russia's top nuclear technological experts, which will be a huge blow to the Russian and Iranian nuclear industries.
Recovery: Rescuers carry the body of a passenger past the wreckage of the Tu-134 plane on Tuesday
Debris: The undercarriage of the passenger airline was one of the few parts of the plane to survive relatively undamaged
'Although Iranian nuclear scientists have in the past been involved in unexplained accidents and plane crashes, there is no official suspicion of foul play,' a source said today.
'Investigators are investigating human error and technical malfunction as the causes of the crash.'
Three of the scientists had worked for Hydropress, a company closely involved with Bushehr, a plant with uniquely complex designs built on the join of three Tectonic plates, it was revealed.
One was Sergey Ryzhov, general director of the company and a distinguished constructor of nuclear plants.
Safety: It is unclear whether the plane tried to carry out an emergency landing on the road or crashed
Secrets: The five had all worked on Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant project, which the international community fear could be used to covertly build nuclear weapons
The other dead scientists were named as Nikolay Trunov, Gennady Banyuk, and Valery Lyalin, and all were described as eminent today.
It is unclear if the scientists were still actively engaged at Bushehr or had worked on any other nuclear projects in Iran.
They were travelling to a conference when they died.
Eight passengers survived the crash of the flight from Moscow to Petrozavodsk in north-west Russia, though one, a boy of ten, has since died.
All but one of the injured are severely hurt.
Today Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Wednesday expressed condolences to the Russian nation and families of the victims of the plane crash.
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