Nov 27, 2020 - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.

  • In 2018, after Israel exposed the Iranian nuclear archives, which the Mossad captured in Tehran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outed Fakhrizade publicly and dubbed him "the father of the Iranian nuclear bomb."

Details: Fakhrizadhe was attacked while driving his car in a Tehran suburb, according to the ministry's statement. During a shootout, he was critically injured and rushed to the hospital where he died.

What they're saying: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Israel for the assassination, writing on Twitter:

"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,"

Zarif called on the international community — and especially EU — to condemn the assassination.

  • Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Iran's supreme leader, blamed Israel and the Trump administration for the killing. "In the last days of the political life of their gambling ally, the Zionists seek to intensify and increase the pressure on Iran to wage a full-fledged war," Dehghan wrote in a tweet.
  • Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, tweeted on Friday: "The assassination of nuclear scientists is the most obvious violent confrontation of the imperialist system to prevent us from gaining access to modern science."
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