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Research center run by Fakhrizadeh produced first COVID-19 test kits for Iranians: Defense minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami says the country’s first COVID-19 test kits were produced in a research center headed by assassinated Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, hailing the martyr as one of the pioneers of the country’s scientific movement against the novel coronavirus.

Hatami made the remarks on Friday, hours after Fakhrizadeh, the head of the Defense Ministry's Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), was assassinated by terrorists in his vehicle in a small city east of the capital Tehran in an attack that also involved a car bombing.

“The organization under the management of Martyr Fakhrizadeh was among the first centers to produce the COVID-19 test kits,” the defense minister said.

When asked why the Iranian scientist was assassinated by terrorists, Hatami said that Fakhrizadeh was the deputy minister of defense, a prominent scientist, and the head of the SPND who had a long history in defense innovations and who trained many researchers for the scientific advancement of Iran.   

Hatami also hailed Fakhrizadeh's service for Iran’s defense industry as “great and fruitful.”

“The enemy targets wherever a huge and effective step is taken to the benefit of the nation, and the Defense Ministry has always been such a target," the minister added.

“The Ministry of Defense is at the forefront of establishing security for our dear nation and thus, has always been loathed by enemies,” Hatami said, adding that those playing major roles in the field of defense are naturally more hated by enemies.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the defense minister said Martyr Fakhrizadeh had developed special innovations in the field of defense that, due to their nature, are less talked about.

“For instance, the application of laser in air defense or the detection of invading aircraft by other means than radar, which fall into the category of defense innovations, are among his great achievements that we will definitely talk about them if necessary,” he said.

Touching on Fakhrizadeh’s scientific endeavor against the coronavirus, Hatami said that the martyr had taken “great strides in the field of developing COVID-19 vaccine, the news of which, God willing, will be presented to our people.”

He added that the center led by Fakhrizadeh went through the first phase of clinical human trials in the field of developing corona vaccine and “did great things for our dear people.”

Shortly after the assassination, Hatami had tweeted, “The enemy does not tolerate Iran’s scientists, and the assassination of scientists further reveals the depth of the enemy’s hatred.”

Serving as an atomic expert, Fakhrizadeh also made great efforts to promote Iran’s nuclear energy program, but he had been under the supervision of the secret agents of the Israeli regime who finally succeeded in assassinating him with several bullets, he added.

Separately on Friday, 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.

Additionally, Fereydoun Abbasi, the former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told Press TV that Fakhrizadeh, who was also serving as an atomic expert, made great efforts to promote Iran’s nuclear energy program but he had been under the supervision of the secret agents of the Israeli regime who finally succeeded in assassinating.

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