Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killed
Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated on Friday in an ambush attack on his car in a district east of Tehran. As per a statement released by Iran’s Defence Ministry, Fakhrizadeh was seriously wounded when assailants attacked his car in the outskirts of Tehran and engaged in a shootout with his bodyguards. “The medical team’s efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he succumbed to his injuries,” the ministry added.
Head of the Research and Innovation Department of the ministry, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been a leading figure in Iran’s nuclear weapons programme for several years. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter, saying: “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist.” He further stated that there were “serious indications of Israeli role” in the scientist’s killing. In a televised cabinet meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel of trying to create chaos by assassinating one of Tehran’s most prominent nuclear scientists.
The Iranian President also vowed to retaliate “at the proper time” for the killing of the scientist, raising alarming concerns for the world order. “Iran’s enemies should know, that the people of Iran and officials are braver than to leave this criminal act unanswered. In due time, they will answer for this crime,” Rouhani added during the televised meeting.
A number of senior Iranian officials have condemned the attack and vowed to retaliate. As per ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency), Hossein Salami, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, called the killing “a cowardly act of terrorism.” Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has reportedly vowed to avenge the killing of Fakhrizadeh.
While the Israeli administration has declined to respond to media questions, Israeli embassies across the world have been reportedly placed on high alert, as reported by the country’s N12 news channel. Fakhrizadeh’s assassination has come less than two months before US President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave the office and President-elect Joe Biden will take charge. As per reports, the Trump administration said that it was closely monitoring the assassination.
Experts have indicated that the Iranian scientist’s killing could complicate Joe Biden’s efforts to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. President-elect Biden has promised to revive US-Iran diplomacy after four years of strained ties under the Trump administration who unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed several sanctions on Tehran.