– Terrorist groups, the leaders and perpetrators of this cowardly assassination should know that a serious revenge awaits them, he writes in a Twitter message reproduced by the state news agency IRNA.
Bagheri describes Fakhrizadeh’s death as “a bitter and heavy blow”.
– We assure that we will not rest until we have hunted and punished those who were involved, he writes.
Iranian researcher Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who is described as the leader of a military nuclear program, has been killed in an assassination attempt outside Tehran, Iranian media report.
The Iranian Ministry of Defense confirms reports from the news agency Fars and other Iranian media that Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, about 70 kilometers east of the Iranian capital Tehran.
The details of the assassination are not known, but according to Fars, the car he was in was first hit by a bomb and then attacked by armed men.
According to the news agency, three or four of the attackers were killed in the exchange of fire that followed.
Led nuclear program
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Fakhrizadeh led a military nuclear program almost 20 years ago and was placed on the US sanctions list in 2008. It is unclear what position he held now.
In 2018, he was named by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference.
– Remember this name, said Netanyahu, who accuses Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons.
After President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, the Americans imposed sanctions on the organization Fakhrizadeh led, known by the acronym SPND.
According to US authorities, this was a military organization that considered opportunities to develop nuclear weapons. Iranian authorities announce that they want to develop such weapons.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed in a 2015 report that Fakhrizadeh had previously led a program examining “a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program”, but that work was discontinued in the early 2000s, according to the IAEA.
It is not known who was behind Friday’s assassination, but the Israeli intelligence service Mossad is accused of having liquidated at least four Iranian nuclear researchers earlier.
– Terrorists today killed a prominent Iranian researcher. This cowardice, which there are strong indications that Israel is behind, shows that the culprits are very belligerent, says a statement from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Western intelligence sources have previously confirmed that Mossad has been behind previous assassinations, and the Iranian security service has over the years uncovered several assassination plans and arrested and convicted Iranians who are said to have participated.
“The deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group funded, trained and armed by Israeli intelligence,” several senior U.S. intelligence sources confirmed to NBC News in 2012.
Sentenced to death
The Iranian group referred to is the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), which has previously been on both the US and EU terror lists.
The Swedish-Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Djalali was sentenced to death by an Iranian court in 2017 after being found guilty of giving information to Mossad about two Iranian nuclear scientists who were killed. Djalali has not yet been executed.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards says in an announcement that the attack on Fakhrizadeh will be avenged, reports Reuters.
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