Top Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated near Tehran

Tehran, Nov 27 (efe-epa).- Prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated Friday near the capital Tehran, the country’s defense ministry said.

Fakhrizadeh was dubbed the ‘father’ of the Iranian nuclear program by Western intelligence and was among those sanctioned by the United Nations for his alleged role in trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The scientist was badly injured in an assault on his vehicle, which assailants allegedly carried out with at least one explosive and gunfire, and died later in hospital, the statement from the defense ministry said.

Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, immediately pointed to Israel as being behind the attack.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice — with serious indications of Israeli role — shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he tweeted.

“Iran calls on the international community — and especially the EU — to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.”

One member of Fakhrizadeh’s security outfit was also injured in the assault, the ministry said.

Although the entity behind the assassination has not yet been confirmed, it bears similarities to other attacks against Iranian scientists between 2010 and 2012.

Iranian authorities at that time blamed Israel’s intelligence service Mossad.

Tehran’s nuclear energy program was severely capped in 2015 with the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, which in return eased international sanctions against the country.

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