Iran’s top leader vows revenge after top nuclear scientist killed

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who became the face of Iran’s disputed nuclear program, died on Friday in an apparent ambush in the district east of Tehran. Pictures of the scene show a broken windshield and blood in a car.

“Clients need to add two things to their to-do list: 1- Tracking the horror and retaliation for those who were responsible for it. 2- Tracking the scientific and technical activities of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in all areas where: he was active,” Khamenei wrote on Saturday. in the tweet of the report attributed to him, which implicitly refers to the country’s nuclear activities.

He added: “Our excellent nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in the defense of our country has been killed by repressive enemies. This rare scientific mind has lost its life because of its eternal great scientific work. It has lost its life for God and its supreme leader.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at Saturday’s cabinet meeting: “Brain trusts and Iran’s enemies need to know that the Iranian nation and officials in the country are courageous and determined to respond in a timely manner to the assassination.”

The sight of Fakhrizadeh's assassination in Absard, Iran, on Friday.

Rouhani and other senior officials had previously accused Israel of organizing the murder, accepting retaliation.

In a statement published by the semi – official Fars news agency, Rouhani blamed Israel for the attack: “Once again, the dirty hands of the oppressors, in accordance with the illegitimate Zionist regime, are tainted with the blood of one of the famous boys. “

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the murder “cowardice” on Friday – with strong signals of Israel’s role.

Iran has not provided evidence of Israeli involvement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on CNN on Friday.

In April 2018, Netanyahu mentioned Fakhrizadeh by name when he uncovered a nuclear archive that he believed was being smuggled out of Iran by Israeli agents. He was named head of a secret nuclear project called Project Amad. “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu told reporters.

“Killing a big case,” the U.S. official says

Fakhrizadeh was the head of the elite Revolutionary Guard’s new technology research center and a leading figure in Iran’s nuclear program for many years.

The assassination could further increase tensions between Tehran and Washington in the final weeks of US President Donald Trump’s term. U.S.-Iran relations deteriorated rapidly during Trump’s presidency.

In 2019, a year after Trump withdrew from the agreement and allowed crippling sanctions against the country, Iran began to withdraw its commitment to a 2015 milestone nuclear deal.

On Friday, Trump retweeted a post by prominent Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, who wrote: “Iran reports that Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi was murdered in Damavand, east of Tehran. “

Mossad is Israel’s foreign intelligence agency.

The Trump government said it was closely monitoring the apparent assassination. A U.S. official told CNN that death would be “big trouble.”

Lebanese Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese armed group, also condemned the killing. Hezbollah’s second commander, Naim Qassem, said U.S. and Israeli agents were behind the assassination.

Fakhrizadeh is mentioned in several reports by the U.S. State Department and the International Atomic Energy Agency for allowing deep insight into Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

CNN reported Ramin Mostaghim from Tehran, Angela Dewan from London and Samantha Beech from Atlanta.