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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."

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Israel's chief epidemiologist creates diplomatic incident with UAE

Israeli travelers arrive in Dubai. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

A remark by Israel’s chief epidemiologist suggesting the opening of direct flights from Dubai to Tel Aviv had led to COVID-19 deaths in Israel resulted in diplomatic protests from the UAE, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Direct flights were one of the main fruits of the Israel-UAE peace treaty, and around 130,000 Israeli tourists have taken advantage by flying to Dubai since December.

Key inflation measure grew slower than expected in June

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The price of goods and services rose 0.4% in June, slower than the 0.5% growth during May, according to the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index released Friday morning. The June reading was lower than the consensus expectation for 0.6% growth.

Why it matters: The core PCE is the inflation measure the Federal Reserve watches most closely. June's reading is the second month in a row of decelerated price growth, giving the Fed breathing room to design a pullback strategy from its emergency market support.

2 hours ago - Health

Internal CDC presentation warns: "The war has changed"

Graphic: CDC via The Washington Post

Unpublished research indicates that the Delta variant causes more severe illness and spreads as easily as chickenpox, and that vaccinated people may transmit the strain as easily as those who are unvaccinated, according to an internal CDC presentation obtained by WashPost.

Why it matters: The data played a key role in the CDC's decision to tell vaccinated people to resume masking indoors, with the presentation calling on health officials to "acknowledge the war has changed," The Post reports.