Iran’s president vowed on Saturday to exact revenge over the killing of the prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as he joined other officials in blaming Israel for the slaying.
Israel, long suspected of killing scientists a decade ago amid tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, has yet to comment on Fakhrizadeh’s killing on Friday. However, the attack bore the hallmarks of a carefully planned, military-style ambush.
This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict.
Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits. https://t.co/0uZhyBTM3S
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) November 27, 2020
The slaying threatens to renew tensions between the US and Iran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s term, just as President-elect Joe Biden has suggested his administration could return to Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers from which Trump earlier withdrew.
The Pentagon announced early on Saturday that it sent the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier back into the Mideast.
Speaking to a meeting of his government’s coronavirus taskforce, Rouhani reiterated that Fakhrizadeh’s death would not stop its nuclear program.
— Shabbir Hassanally (شبير حسنعلي) (@purewilayah) November 28, 2020
Iran’s civilian nuclear program has continued its experiments and now enriches uranium up to 4.5%, far below weapons-grade levels of 90%.
“We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” Rouhani said.
“The Iranian nation is smarter than falling into the trap of the Zionists. They are thinking to create chaos,” he added.
Friday’s attack happened in Absard, a village just east of the capital that is a retreat for the Iranian elite. Iranian state television said an old truck with explosives hidden under a load of wood blew up near a sedan carrying Fakhrizadeh.
— Iran Embassy SA 🇮🇷 (@IraninSA) November 28, 2020
As Fakhrizadeh’s sedan stopped, at least five gunmen emerged and raked the car with rapid-fire, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency said.
Fakhrizadeh died at a hospital after doctors and paramedics couldn’t revive him. Others wounded included Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards. Photos and video shared online showed a Nissan sedan with bullet holes in the windshield and blood pooled on the road.
Hours after the attack, the Pentagon announced it had brought the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier back into the Middle East, an unusual move as the carrier already spent months in the region.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)