Iran’s supreme leader calls for ‘definitive punishment’ of scientist’s killers

Ayatollah threatens retaliation after president blames Israel for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh


Iran’s supreme chief has known as for the “definitive punishment” of these at the back of the killing of one of the country’s most senior scientists, who was once recognized through Israel as having headed a secret nuclear weapons programme.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Tehran’s nuclear strategy, was once killed on Friday on a motorway close to the capital in a cautiously deliberate assassination that has led to a serious escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

Iran scientist’s assassination seems meant to undermine the nuclear deal
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Iran accused its arch-enemy, Israel, of carrying out the attack. Expecting a response, Israel put its world embassies on excessive alert on Saturday, Hebrew-language media reported.

In a statement, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei known as Fakhrizadeh “the country’s outstanding and special nuclear and protective scientist”.

Iran’s first precedence after the killing, he said, was once the “definitive punishment of the perpetrators and these who ordered it”. He did no longer elaborate.

Speaking in the course of a assembly of his government’s coronavirus taskforce, the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, blamed Israel and reiterated that Fakhrizadeh’s loss of life would now not cease the country’s nuclear programme, which it claims is non-military and centered on energy.

Prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who used to be assassinated on Friday.
Prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was once assassinated on Friday. Photograph: Wana News Agency/Reuters
“Once again, the evil palms of world conceitedness had been stained with the blood of the mercenary usurper Zionist regime,” Rouhani stated in a statement.

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During the previous decade, Iran has accused Israel of killing at least 5 of its nuclear scientists, even though Fakhrizadeh is viewed the most senior and high-profile.

“We will reply to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a desirable time,” Rouhani said.


During previous spikes in hostility, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, has carried out strikes on Israeli targets.

Iran later informed the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, and the UN safety council in a letter there had been “serious indicators of Israeli responsibility” and that it reserved the proper to “take all crucial measures to protect its people”.

Separately, an adviser to Supreme Leader Khamenei, Hossein Dehghan, stated Tehran would “strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them be apologetic about their action”.

A spokesperson for the Israeli navy stated it would now not “comment on reviews in the overseas media,” whilst the country’s high minister’s workplace additionally remained silent.

Israel has confronted accusations of the use of the ultimate weeks of the Trump administration to take action. The US president is commonly considered in Israel as extra permissive of its ambitions, each political and military, than the president-elect, Joe Biden.

Iranian hardliners burn a photograph of President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden for the duration of a protest over the killing of Fakhrizadeh.
Iranian hardliners burn a photo of President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden in the course of a protest over the killing of Fakhrizadeh. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA
To Israel’s dismay, Biden has stated he is inclined to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal deserted by way of Trump and raise some financial sanctions if Iran comes lower back into compliance with the agreement. Israel and regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia prefer the US to continue to be backyard the deal and proceed with Trump’s coverage of most monetary sanctions.

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Without suggesting who carried out Friday’s killing, Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli Defence Force intelligence, said: “With the window of time left for Trump, such a go ought to lead Iran to a violent response, which would supply a pretext for a US-led assault on Iranian nuclear facilities.”

John Brennan, a former head of the CIA underneath Barack Obama, known as the assassination “a crook act and tremendously reckless”, and one that may want to spark retaliation. “Iranian leaders would be smart to wait for the return of accountable American management on the international stage and to withstand the urge to reply in opposition to perceived culprits,” he tweeted.

Fakhrizadeh used to be ambushed with explosives and laptop gun furnace in the city of Absard, 70km (44 miles) east of Tehran. Efforts to resuscitate him in medical institution failed. His bodyguard and household contributors have been additionally wounded.

Fakhrizadeh had been described by using western and Israeli talent offerings for years as the chief of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003. He used to be a central discern in a presentation by way of the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2018 accusing Iran of persevering with to searching for nuclear weapons. “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu stated throughout the presentation.

He accused Iran at the time of hiding and increasing its nuclear weapons know-how, pronouncing that Israeli brain had got a half-tonne cache of nuclear archive substances from the country. Iran has continually denied it has any hobby in creating nuclear weapons.

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During the closing months of Trump’s presidency, Israel has been making peace with Gulf Arab states that share its hostility in the direction of Iran. This month, Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, in accordance to Israeli officials, in the first stated go to by means of an Israeli leader.

Agencies contributed to this document