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Dead nuclear expert had insisted Iran posed 'no threat'

The Russian nuclear weapons expert found dead in Malta last week had said in an interview that Iran posed no threat to any other country.

Dr Alexander Pikayev had told The Tehran Times last year that Iran's nuclear activities were peaceful and accusations that it was building nuclear weapons were "baseless".

Dr Pikayev, Russia's head of the Department for Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Studies of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, was found dead in a Buġibba flat last Wednesday with a blow to the head. The police believe the blow could have been caused when he fell at his holiday flat.

The Russian expert had told his interviewer he hoped Iran would eliminate ambiguities about its peaceful nuclear activities by continuing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Calling on Iran and Russia to make further efforts to ensure a stable region, Dr Pikayev had said the regional powers were willing to solve their problems by their own means without foreigners' interference.

The Russian official had noted that the Western sanctions against Iran were "irrational" and "fruitless" because the Islamic state was a developing country, rich in energy resources. In addition, he said the EU had fallen into the trap of US policy and followed suit by imposing sanctions against Iran.

In the meantime, Dr Pikayev's widow flew to Malta after the grim discovery was made, the victim's colleague Alexei Arbatov told The Moscow Times.

The Kommersant newspaper reported that Dr Pikayev had probably suffered a heart attack. But Nikolai Petrov, who worked with Dr Pikayev at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told The Moscow Times Dr Pikayev had not complained about his health in the months before his death.

Dr Pikayev was also a much cited media pundit and often commented on current events in The Moscow Times.

Though the police have not yet ruled out foul play, sources said the victim probably slipped and hit his head to the jamb of a door in the apartment.

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