A prominent Iranian nuclear scientist died in an attempt on his life, the Iranian authorities have announced. It would be Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who is seen as the mastermind behind the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran says it will avenge the attack.
There is still much unclear about the death of Fakhrizadeh. “Social media and Iranian media reports are passing by that the scientist was attacked in his car on a road outside the capital Tehran,” said Middle-East Middle-East Middle-East correspondent Daisy Mohr from Lebanon. An explosion would have been heard in the area. The scholar would have died in the hospital of his injuries.
Fakhrizadeh is also known as the father of the Iranian nuclear programme, says Mohr. “He was someone who knew he was a target. He was protected and probably went through life very carefully.” Fakhrizadeh was part of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran. He also taught at the university.
The scientist was of great importance to the Iranian rulers, according to Mohr. “It is said that he was in charge of the nuclear Hope programme in early 2000. “Israel and the West believe that the purpose of this program was to create nuclear weapons in Iran. On the contrary, Iran has always said it was for peaceful purposes.
The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard says that Iran will take revenge on the death of the scientist, writes the BBC. “Terrorists killed a major Iranian scientist,” wrote Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in a response to Twitter.
According to Zarif, there are indications that Israel was involved in the violence. Its unclear which ones are. Israel has not responded to the allegation.
The attack should be seen against the background of the sharply deteriorated relationship between the United States and Iran, says correspondent Mohr. President Trump decided to leave the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018. “The future President Biden has announced that he wants to return to Iran. But Israel is not in favour of that.” The attack does not make it easier for Biden to sit back to the table with Iran, thinks Mohr.
Between 2010 and 2012, four Iranian nuclear scientists were liquidated. Israel would be behind those attacks. “Israel has never confirmed or denied that,” says Mohr. Even now, the attack has not been claimed.