Since news broke hours ago of the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, on the streets in a city just east of Tehran, Iranian leaders have blamed an Israeli assassination plot.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said there were "Serious indications of Israeli role" in killing of Fakhrizadeh, who subsequently died of his wounds in a hospital. What Iran has dubbed a terrorist attack reportedly involved a hail of machine gun fire and a suicide bomber explosion.
And a top military adviser to Iran's supreme leader and former IRGC general issued a similar allegation on Twitter. Hossein Dehghan wrote:
"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 U.S. President Donald Trump. "We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions!"
Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 27, 2020
Iran calls on int'l community—and especially EU—to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.
According to Iran Front Page News, Fakhrizadeh was killed by shooting, but before the shootout, his car has been stopped with an explosion at Mostafa Khomeini Blvd. Several others are also reportedly killed in the incident, but haven’t been identified yet. Tasnim reported further details as follows:
At 2:30 PM Iran time, a Nissan commercial vehicle exploded near Fahrizadeh's car. Immediately afterwards the assassins fired at Fahrizadeh & his bodyguard. Fahrizadeh was rushed by helicopter to the hospital where he died of his wounds.
Fakhrizadeh was a brigadier general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) and headed Iran’s nuclear weapons project. He was a professor of physics at the Imam Hussein University in Tehran and was former head of Iran's Physics Research Center.
He was widely considered "father of Iran's nuclear program" - but which the Islamic Republic has long insisted has remained for peaceful domestic energy purposes.
.@RealdonaldTrump is trying:— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) November 27, 2020
1. Drag #Iran to war or
2. Toughen Iran's position to violate the level of enrichment
3. Spoil a US deal with Iran#US administration led by President-elect @JoeBiden has one choice: Reinstall the nuclear deal without any modification or negotiation.
"Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving (Fakhrizadeh), and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle," Iran’s armed forces said in a subsequent statement carried by state media.
Multiple Middle East and Iran observers in the West were quick acknowledge that Iran's suspicions of an Israeli covert plot are legitimate.
Regional expert Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma wrote that the—
"Assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist echoes previous assassinations by Israel, probably with a US assist."
In past brazen killings of Iranian scientists, foreign intelligence agencies are believed to have worked through local proxies such as the Iranian opposition movement and paramilitary group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).