Iranian military officials have vowed to avenge the death of Iran’s chief nuclear scientist on Friday as talks on formalizing the alleged deepening of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia fell apart despite the countries ’shared distrust with Tehran.
Leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia attended a meeting last weekend to discuss normalization of relations between the two countries A Wall Street Journal. The paper published a report on the meeting a few hours after the Iranian Ministry of Defense announced that Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a scientist who believed he had led the country’s “Project Amad” nuclear program in the early 2000s, on Friday he died after a road attack. Some Iranian political and military officials have called Fakhrizadeh’s death a “murder” and accused Israel of assault.
“Terrorists have murdered a prominent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice – with serious signs of an Israeli role – shows the desperate warming of the perpetrators,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said. wrote on Twitter. “Iran calls on the community – and the EU in particular – to end their shameful double standard and to condemn this act of state terror.”
Other Iranian officials have called for retaliation following Fakhrizadeh’s death.
“In the last days of the political life of their gambling ally, the Zionists want to step up and intensify the pressure on Iran to wage a full-scale war,” wrote Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Iran’s top leader. in tweets that in translation Israel Times, seemed to apply to both Israel and the United States: “We will descend like lightning on the murderers of the oppressed martyr, and we will regret them for their actions!”
Iranian military chief Mohammad Bagheri also referred to a “malicious Zionist entity” Israel Times gained from the attack. “Terrorist groups, commanders and elements involved in this cowardly act [should know] heavy retaliation awaits them, “Bagheri said.
Newsweek he addressed the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment but did not receive a timely response to the publication.
A Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi, Israeli and U.S. officials reassured their reporters that last weekend’s meeting had taken place despite Saudi Arabia’s denial that such a meeting had taken place. Officials have reportedly told the paper that Saudi Arabia is more likely to resume talks if President-elect Joe Biden takes office and thus gain good intentions with the incoming administration. President Donald Trump’s administration has sought to level out turbulent relations in the Middle East and has appeared to be one step closer to this with the signing of the Abraham Agreement in September, a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Last weekend’s discussion could have given Trump another foreign policy victory before leaving the White House in January if it ends differently. Negotiations to improve relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia are based on a common distrust of Iran. Israel has been critical of Iran for a long time because of its nuclear program, and in 2018 it obtained a wealth of documents that showed that Iran is moving forward with its program, despite previous agreements that the country will no longer do so. Israel is also believed to have targeted Iranian nuclear scientists in past attacks. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s decades-long conflict with Iran has surrounded both countries ’efforts to influence politics in the region. Iran’s hostile past against both nations has given them a common reason to explore peace talks.
Based on A Wall Street Journal, these talks will likely have to wait until Biden takes office.
“Saudi Arabia is trying to figure out how this can best be used to restore Washington’s image and bring about goodwill with Bidend and Congress,” an American official told the paper.