Iran’s highest nuclear scientist killed: Live updates

An attack on Iran to force it to stop expanding its nuclear program would be a major blow to Mr Biden, who wants to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Such a strike on the eve of a new administration could poison relations with Tehran to such an extent that it would be impossible to negotiate the restoration of the agreement or to tighten its terms.

As Mr. Trump fired Mark T. Esper’s defense secretary and other Pentagon senior aides last week, the Department of Defense and other national security officials have expressed private concern that the president could launch either overt or covert operations against Iran or elsewhere. at the end of his opponents mission. Others have speculated that Mr Netanyahu, who was on the brink of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities at various times, may try to act while Mr Trump is still in office.

While Trump’s top advisers, including Mr. Pompeo and General Mark A. Milley, the chief of staff, have argued against a military strike against Iran, top U.S. officials and commanders continue to warn of Iran’s malicious activities.

“For decades, the Iranian regime has funded and supported terrorism and terrorist organizations,” Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., head of the military headquarters, said at a webinar on the Middle East last week.

Iranian media describe the explosion and gun battle on the city’s main boulevard.

Iranian state media described the attack on Mr Fakhrizadeh as saying it happened on Absard’s main tree-lined boulevard, a rural escape with majestic mountains, north of the capital, Tehran.

Images published by state and social media about the aftermath of the attack show the scientist’s vehicle, a black SUV with bullet-shattered windshields and blown-out side windows. Bloodstains, shards of glass and metal are scattered along the way.

Residents told state television they heard the sound of a big explosion followed by intense machine gun fire. A Nissan truck carrying explosives hidden in wood was parked across the road, state television reported. The truck exploded in front of Mr. Fakhrizadeh’s car and then a group of five or six gunmen appeared who were sitting in another car on the same side as Mr. Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle and opened fire on his car, the report said.