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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Photo: Iranian Leader Press Office/Getty Images

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pledged to retaliate one day after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the nation's top nuclear scientist.

What he's saying: Khamenei wrote on Twitter Saturday to call on "relevant administrators" to prosecute the "brutal mercenaries" behind the attack and continue the "scientific efforts" of Fakhrizadeh, who Khamenei referred to as a "martyr."

  • He noted that Iran's first priority was the "definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it," but did not elaborate, per AP.

Israel didn’t take responsibility for the assassination, but the New York Times reported it was Israeli agents who killed Fakhrizade, citing intelligence officials. Iran blamed Israel for the assassination and threatened revenge

  • "Our people are wiser than to fall in the trap of the Zionist regime (Israel) ... Iran will surely respond to the martyrdom of our scientist at the proper time," said President Hassan Rouhani in a cabinet meeting on Saturday, according to NBC News.
  • “We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” Rouhani said, per AP. “The Iranian nation is smarter than falling into the trap of the Zionists. They are thinking to create chaos.”

Go deeper: Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

Go deeper

Jan 19, 2021 - World

U.S. is "a long way" from return to Iran nuclear deal, Blinken says

Blinken during the hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

Secretary of State designate Tony Blinken said in his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the Biden administration is "a long way" from executing its plan to return to the Iran nuclear deal, and he plans to consult with Israel and the Gulf states before doing so.

Why it matters: America's partners in the Middle East have been publicly raising their concerns about a possible return to the 2015 agreement and calling on the Biden administration to consult with them first.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
52 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.