PHOTO CREDITS: MERCO PRESS
Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 59, was assassinated near Tehran, Iran confirmed Friday afternoon.
Details about the slaying remained limited in the hours after the attack, which 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 exploded near a sedan carrying Fakhrizadeh. 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 failed to revive him. Others wounded included Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards (MSN).
The semi official Fars news agency, believed to be close to the country’s Revolutionary Guard, said the attack happened in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, Tehran. It said witnesses heard the sound of an explosion and then machine gun fire. The attack targeted a car that Fakhrizadeh was in, the agency said. State television on its website later published a photograph of security forces blocking off the road. Photos and video shared online showed a Nissan sedan with bullet holes through windshield and blood pooled on the road.
Iranian’s Defense Ministry released a statement Friday, stating, “The nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated today by terrorists.” The Defense ministry has not blamed a specific group or nation for the assassination. Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, took to twitter to blame Israel for the attack. “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice-with serious indications of Israeli role-shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators…” A military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader accused Israel and stated that they were trying to provoke a “full-blown” war by killing Fakhrizadeh.
Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader and a presidential candidate in Iran’s 2021 election, also blamed Israel — and issued a warning: “In the last days of their gambling ally’s political life, the Zionists seek to intensify and increase pressure on Iran to wage a full-blown war,” Dehghan wrote, appearing to refer to potentially Trump’s last days in office. “We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions!”
According to Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council, “Conducting attacks in Iran has few downsides for Israel right now… Either Iran lashes out and sparks a broader conflict that sucks in the US, bringing about a US-Iran confrontation that Prime Minister Netanyahu has long sought” (AP).
ARTICLE: MATTHEW GIRALDO
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE