Assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, key player in Iran’s nuclear program

Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in an undated photo, in Iran.

A key player in Tehran’s nuclear program, scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in broad daylight, Friday, November 27, in Absard, a small town east of Tehran. A senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards – the ideological army of Tehran – according to some Persian media abroad, the man was behind secret programs to design an atomic warhead in Iran, say the services of American and Israeli intelligence. He was killed as his car drove through the town of Absard, Iranian state media reported. Severely injured and transferred to hospital, Mr. Fakhrizadeh could not be saved. Along with him, three or four other people were reportedly killed, according to various Iranian news sites.

Living memory of Tehran’s nuclear program and a long-standing figure among Israel’s potential targets, Fakhrizadeh had escaped a previous assassination attempt attributed to the Mossad in recent years, according to Israeli intelligence specialist Yossi Melman. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself publicly designated him as the mastermind of the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program, unveiling a stockpile of archives seized by the Mossad in the Iranian capital in 2018.

Read also: Netanyahu’s declarations on Iran’s nuclear power, “a political communication operation”

Presented by Iran as a simple teacher at Imam Hossein University in Tehran, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was never made available to investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), despite the repeated requests from the latter. In 2008, he was placed on the list of Iranian personalities whose assets were frozen by Washington.

A few hours after this assassination, Iranian officials did not hesitate to point the finger at Israel’s responsibility. “This cowardice – with serious indications of the Israeli role – shows the desperate warmongering of the perpetrators”, thus tweeted the head of diplomacy of the Islamic Republic Mohammad Javad Zarif. The Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, for his part, warned against a “Harsh revenge against the assassins of the martyr” Fakhrizadeh.

Possibility of resuming negotiations with Washington

On the night of Friday to Saturday, despite the curfew due to the epidemic linked to Covid-19, Iranians, belonging to the hard wing, gathered in front of the residence of President Hassan Rouhani and in front of the Supreme Council security officer in Tehran, shouting: “No to submission to the United States! Only war! “

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