Prominent nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in a terrorist attack near the Iranian capital Tehran.
The Fars news agency reported that he had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.
The attack targeted the vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh — who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the agency said.
The Defense Ministry’s media office said Fakhrizadeh “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists, and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his injuries.
Fars said 3-4 people were killed in the shooting, all of whom were said to be terrorists.
Photos and footage shared online of the attack showed bullet holes on the windshield of Fakhrizadeh’s car and a pool of blood on the road.
‘Serious indications of Israeli role’
In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran.
“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he said in a tweet.
The top Iranian diplomat called on the international community, especially the European Union, to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”
‘Harsh revenge awaits criminals’
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri blamed the “savage” attack on “terrorists tied to global arrogance and the evil Zionist regime.”
The assassination, he said, did deal a blow to Iran’s defense industry, but the enemies should know that “the path opened by the likes of Martyr Fakhrizadeh will never end.”
Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaits the terror groups as well as all those who had a hand in the terror attack.
The commander assured the Iranian nation that the perpetrators of the terror attack will be pursued and brought to justice.
In a similar message, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami vowed a “harsh revenge and punishment” for those behind the act of terror.
The assassination of the Iranian scientist “was planned and run by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime,” the chief IRGC commander added.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also said in a statement that an operation had been launched to identify the terrorist elements complicit in the “brutal crime,” pledging that the Islamic Republic will avenge the martyr’s blood.
In turn, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also reacted to Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom in a tweet, vowing a crushing response to the perpetrator.
“We will come down hard on those who killed Martry Mohsen Fakhrizadeh like thunder and make them regret their deed,” he said.
“In the final days of their allied gambler’s political life, the Zionists are after intensifying pressure on Iran in order to trigger an all-out war,” said Dehqan in a reference to outgoing US President Donald Trump’s final days in office.
Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.
Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”
The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.
The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.
‘The crime won’t block Iran path to scientific progress’
Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi said the “big crime” was carried out by “traitorous elements linked to foreigners and international Zionism with the sinister goal of hindering the country’s scientific progress.”
Raeisi further praised the scientist’s role in speeding up Iran’s advancements in various scientific fields, including the nuclear industry, saying Fakhrizadeh’s martyrdom will not block the country’s path forward.
He called on the country’s security and intelligence institutions in addition to relevant judicial bodies to do their utmost to arrest and serve justice to the criminals and mercenaries involved in the crime as soon as possible.