A top Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was allegedly assassinated Friday near Tehran, and Iranian officials are expressing suspicion that Israel was behind the attack.
“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators. Iran calls on int’l community – and especially EU – to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror,” tweeted Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister.
Iran has not commented on whether Fakhrizadeh’s attackers are in Iranian custody but pledges revenge on the perpetrators who seek “to wage a full-blown war.”
“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. We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions,” said adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Hossein Dehghan.
Fakhrizadeh was an officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and physics professor who the West have alleged was secretly leading Iran toward building a nuclear weapon for military purposes.
Iran continues to deny that it will weaponize its enrichment programs.
In 2014, a Western diplomat told Reuters “if Iran ever chose to weaponize [enrichment], Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb.”
This is not the first time Iran has suspected Israel of conducting assassinations on nuclear scientists.
From 2010 to 2012, Israel was accused of four separate Iranian assassinations.
Fakhrizadeh’s death marks the second assassination of a major Iranian official this year.
In January, the United States claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of the head of Iran’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani, increasing tensions between the West and Iran’s regime.
On Friday, President Trump retweeted a message saying “[Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s] death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran.”