Tehran, Nov 28 (efe-epa).- Iran’s leadership on Saturday accused Israel of assassinating one of its top nuclear scientists and vowed to respond “at the appropriate” moment.
President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei both issued statements regarding the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, widely regarded as the architect of Tehran’s nuclear program.
“They are trying to create chaos and unrest, but they must know (…) that they will never achieve their wicked goals,” Rouhani said in a televised statement.
Fakhrizadeh was assassinated Friday as he traveled on a highway near the capital, Tehran.
“Once again, the evil hands of global arrogance were stained with the blood of the mercenary usurper Zionist regime,” he added.
Khamenei said the country’s nuclear program would continue undeterred.
“All relevant administrators must seriously place two crucial matters on their agendas: 1st to investigate this crime and firmly prosecute its perpetrators and its commanders, 2nd to continue the martyr’s scientific and technological efforts in all the sectors where he was active,” he said.
Israel has not commented on the accusations, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had mentioned Fakhrizadeh in a statement two years ago, alleging the scientist was behind a secret nuclear program in Iran.
Rouhani mentioned previous attacks on Iranian scientists between 2010-12, which Iran blamed on Israel’s secret intelligence service Mossad.
The Iranian president added that the “brutal assassination” showed that the United States and Israel were anxious about the imminent departure of Donald Trump from the White House and the arrival of Joe Biden, who is inclined to return to the nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump withdrew from the historic deal, which saw Tehran trade in most of its nuclear program for a slight easing of sanctions, in 2018. His administration then leveled fresh sanctions on Iran.
According to Iran’s defense ministry, assailants opened fire on Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle and detonated at least one explosive in the assassination. EFE-EPA