The Iranian Defense Ministry spoke of a “martyr’s death” when the news was announced. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reported “serious indications” of Israeli involvement. At first, however, it was not clear who was behind the attack.
According to media reports, Fachrisadeh was shot dead in Ab-Sard, a suburb east of the capital Tehran. Several attackers were also killed, according to local authorities.
The Ministry of Defense later stated in an official statement on state television: “We hereby announce the martyrdom of Dr. Mohsen Fachrisadeh known. “
The nuclear physicist was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and an expert in the manufacture of missiles. According to information from the Iranian news agency Fars, Israeli intelligence services have been trying to eliminate him for years. Most recently, Fachrisadeh headed the Research and Technological Renewal Department in the Ministry of Defense.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted him in spring 2018 in connection with a presentation on the Iranian nuclear program. “Make a note of this name: Fachrisadeh,” said Netanyahu at the time. Iran’s Foreign Minister Sarif now appealed on Twitter in particular to the European Union to “abandon its shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror”.
Israel and Iran are archenemies. The collapse of Israel and the “liberation of Palestine” are part of the foreign policy doctrine of the Islamic Republic. The existence of the Jewish state is threatened by Shiite Iran and its nuclear program. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently described Israel as a “tumor” that had to be uprooted and removed with a jihad (holy war) by the Palestinians.
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Under President Donald Trump, the US unilaterally terminated an international agreement designed to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb in 2018 and imposed new sanctions on the government in Tehran. After a period of one year, during which Tehran unsuccessfully urged the other contracting parties to comply with the treaty, Iran had also gradually ignored almost all the provisions of the agreement. It is uncertain whether the USA could return to the nuclear deal under the newly elected President Joe Biden.
In the summer there was a mysterious series of fires and explosions in Iran. Among other things, it concerned a nuclear facility. The causes mostly remained unclear. This left room for speculation – also about Israel as a possible originator.
USA are silent for now
The US initially did not comment on the murder. However, President Trump forwarded a tweet from Israeli journalist Yossi Melman about Fachrisadeh’s death via his Twitter account without comment. In it, Melman wrote that Fachrisadeh was the head of the secret Iranian military program and had been wanted by the Israeli secret service Mossad for years. His death is a severe blow to Iran. Melman expressed “confused” about Trump’s retweet in another tweet.
Since the unilateral termination of the nuclear deal, Trump has been running a campaign of “maximum pressure” with tough sanctions to force Iran to negotiate a new agreement with more extensive conditions. The US punitive measures exacerbated the economic and financial crisis in Iran. However, Tehran has ramped up uranium enrichment. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran now has more than 2,400 kilograms. A maximum of around 200 kilograms was agreed in the agreement.
Last week, the US media reported that high-ranking advisers had advised Trump against taking military action against an Iranian nuclear facility. The term of office of the elected president ends on January 20th. Successor Biden has promised to return to the agreement provided Iran also adheres to the upper limits.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Iranian nuclear organization AEOI caused confusion with his comment on the first death reports. “Our nuclear scientists are all healthy,” said Behrus Kamalwandi of the Isna news agency. Allegedly, Fachrisadeh was no longer part of the AEOI, which would explain the denial. (dpa)
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