An Iranian nuclear scientist described as the guru of Iran’s nuclear program was shot in the streets of a city near Tehran.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was expected in Absard, 70 km east of Tehran. Four attackers opened fire after eyewitnesses heard an explosion. Efforts to resuscitate Fakhrizadeh have failed, and his bodyguard has been wounded.
An adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s chief leader, vowed that the country would retaliate against the perpetrators. “As a thunder, we will strike down the killers of this oppressed martyr and he will regret them for their actions,” military commander Hossein Dehghan tweeted.
The Iranian Ministry of Defense confirmed in a statement the death of Fakhrizadeh. “During the clash between his security team and the terrorists, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was seriously wounded and taken to hospital,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the medical team failed to revive, and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist, after years of effort and struggle, achieved a high degree of martyrdom.”
The Israeli Prime Minister identified Fakhrizadeh as director of Iran’s nuclear weapons project at a public presentation in 2018.
“Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Benjamin Netanyahu said during the presentation.
At the time, he accused Iran of hiding and expanding its nuclear weapons know-how, saying Israeli intelligence had acquired a half-ton cache from the country.
The attack was confirmed by Iranian state TV but denied by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) before being specifically confirmed by the Ministry of Defense. Images of the alleged location of the attack also appeared on Iranian news sites. Security forces blocked the boulevard where the attack took place.
A spokesman for the Israeli army said: “We do not comment on reports in foreign media.” The prime minister’s office said it did not comment on “these reports”.
The turmoil in the Iranian media is reflected in high tensions in Iran, amid reports that Israeli intelligence and intelligence have been given the green light to launch attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities before Donald Trump resigned as president.
Many Iranian officials believe that Trump, along with Israel and Saudi Arabia, is determined to weaken or contradict Iran before the U.S. transfer of power on January 20th.
Joe Biden, the US president-elect, has said he is willing to rejoin the Iranian nuclear deal and lift some economic sanctions as long as Iran is back in line with the deal, especially over surplus enriched uranium reserves. Israel and Saudi Arabia want the U.S. to stay out of the agreement and pursue a policy of maximum economic sanctions.
Fakhrizadeh, on the U.S. sanctions list, was seen as the main guardian of Iran’s knowledge of its nuclear program. The brigadier general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and professor of the Fahrizadeh guard of the Fakhrizadeh guard were shrouded in mystery.
Until April 2018, no photos of it were publicly available, and after the assassination of several other nuclear scientists, another shield of secrecy and security was thrown around it in order to protect it from Israeli assassins.
In 1988, he took over the management of the Physics Research Center of Iran and became its successor, the head of research at the Institute of Applied Physics, from which Iran’s secret nuclear research program was carried out.
No member of the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has ever spoken to him, but he was named in one of their reports.