Iran vows to avenge assassination of Fakhrizadeh, exacerbating tensions
(Update 1: Adds byline, detail throughout)
By Marina Villén
Tehran, Nov 28 (EFE).- Iran vowed to avenge the death of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was the target of an assassination that Tehran has claimed was carried out by Israeli “mercenaries” acting on behalf of Washington.
The accusation will stoke tensions with the United States just as Donald Trump prepares to leave the White House ahead of the arrival of Joe Biden, who will have to pick up the pieces if he is to succeed in improving relations with Tehran.
Iran’s regime is aware that the stakes are high. And yet it has spared no time in leveling threats against those it deems responsible for the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, considered by the West and Israel to have been the father of Iran’s former nuclear arms program.
Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, ordered authorities to “investigate this crime and firmly prosecute its perpetrators and its commanders,” who he described as “brutal mercenaries.”
There have been no arrests made so far in the operation to track down the assailants who opened fire on Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle on a highway near Tehran on Friday. Fakhrizadeh was injured in the attack and died later in the hospital.
The commander-in-chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, warned that those behind the killing of the scientist, who at the time was head of the investigation and innovation at the Ministry of Defence, would be met with “severe revenge.”
President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would retaliate, adding: “Once again, the evil hands of global arrogance were stained with the blood of the mercenary usurper Zionist regime.”
In a televised address, Rouhani mentioned previous attacks on Iranian scientists between 2010-12, which Iran blamed on Israel’s secret intelligence service Mossad.