Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian nuclear scientist regarded as the father of Iran’s nuclear program, was assassinated in Tehran Province, Iran on Friday.
The news first broke on Telegram channels affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), but was later confirmed by Iran’s own state-run Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), who called it a “terrorist operation.” IRINN described Fakhrizadeh as head of the nation’s Research and Innovation Organization of the Ministry of Defense.
Iran’s semi-official state news media Fars News said an explosion and a shooting took place, targeting a car that Fakhrizadeh was riding in. The news agency released photos of the scene.
Fars said three to four “terrorists” were killed in a clash with Fakhrizadeh’s security team.
Fars pointed blame to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, which it claims had previously attempted to assassinate other Iranian nuclear scientists unsuccessfully.
Fakhrizadeh is generally regarded as the father of Iran’s nuclear program for his decades-long work in nuclear research and development.
In 2007, The United Nations Security Council had named Fakhrizadeh on a list of “persons involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities.”
The UN report said Fakhrizadeh was a senior scientist with Iran’s Ministry of Defense Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) – the nation’s defense agency, responsible researching, developing, and manufacturing weaponry. The report also said Fakhrizadeh was a former director of the Physics Research Center (PHRC), which oversaw the nation’s research relating to its nuclear program.
Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Defense Minister, condemned the attack in a tweet and also pointed to Israel.
“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators. Iran calls on int’l community—and especially EU—to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror,” Zarif said.
Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators
Iran calls on int'l community—and especially EU—to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 27, 2020