TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – An Iranian security official on Monday accused Israel of remotely killing a scientist who set up the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program in the 2000s using “electronic means”.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, commented at the funeral of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, where Iran’s defense minister specifically vowed to continue the man “with greater speed and force.”
Israel, which has long been suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade, declined to comment on the attack.
Fakhrizadeh led Iran’s so-called AMAD program, which Israel and the West claimed was a military operation that examined the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the “structured program” ended in 2003. U.S. intelligence agencies agreed with this assessment in a 2007 report.
Israel insists that Iran maintain its ambition to develop nuclear weapons, pointing to Tehran’s ballistic missile program and research into other technologies. Iran has long maintained its nuclear program, peaceful.
Shamkhani’s remarks drastically change the story of Fakhrizadeh’s murder on Friday. Authorities initially said a truck exploded and then gunmen opened fire on the scientist, killing him.
State-language English-language press TV previously reported that the weapon found at the scene of the attack bore “the logo and specifications of the Israeli military industry.” State TV’s Arabic-language channel, Al-Alam, claimed the weapons used were “satellite-controlled,” a statement the Sunday also told the semi-official Fars news agency.
None of the shops immediately provided supporting evidence.
“Unfortunately, the operation was a very complicated operation and was carried out using electronic means,” Samkhani told state TV. – No one was present at the scene.
Sámkhani also blamed the Iranian exiled group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq for “having a role in this” without going into detail. MEK did not respond immediately to the request for an opinion.
Monday’s worship in Fakhrizadeh took place outside the Iranian Ministry of Defense in Tehran, including officials including Revolutionary Guard Chief Hossein Salami, Chief of Force Quds of Esmail Ghaani, Civil Nuclear Chief Ali Akbar Sahei and Intelligence Minister Mamoud Alavi. . They sat separately and wore a mask because of the coronavirus epidemic, while the orators read melodic parts of the Qur’an and religious texts melodically.
General Defense Minister Amir Hatami gave a speech after kissing Fakhrizadeh’s coffin and adding his forehead. He said Fakhrizadeh’s assassination would make the Iranians “more united, more determined.”
“In order to continue your journey, we will continue with greater speed and force,” Hatami said in comments broadcast live on state television.
Hatami has also criticized countries that have not condemned Fakhrizadeh’s murder, warning, “This will one day catch up with you.” Overnight, the UAE, which had just concluded a normalization agreement with Israel, issued a statement condemning “the horrific assassination”. The UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, has warned it could “further intensify the conflict in the region”.
Last year, the UAE found itself in the midst of escalating events between Iran and the United States. Although suspicious of Iran’s nuclear program has long been suspected, the Emirates have said they want to reduce the crisis. The UAE has just begun transporting passengers to Israel, and Israelis are expected to vacation in the country over Hanukkah in the coming days.
Hatami also called the U.S. nuclear arsenal – and Israel’s stockpile of atomic bombs – a long-standing threat – the most dangerous threat to humanity.
The mourners later buried Fakhrizadeh in the courtyard of the Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque in northern Tehran.
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.