A prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, who was long suspected by the West of leading a secret atomic weapons programme, was assassinated near the Iranian capital on Friday, Iranian state media reported.
According to Iranian media, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died of injuries in hospital after armed assassins fired on his car.
“Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving (Fakhrizadeh), and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” Iran’s armed forces said in a statement carried by state media.
Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators
Iran calls on int'l community—and especially EU—to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 27, 2020
The semi-official news agency Tasnim said earlier that “terrorists blew up another car” before firing on a vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh and his bodyguards in an ambush outside the capital.
Fakhrizadeh is thought to have headed what the UN nuclear watchdog and US intelligence services believe was a coordinated nuclear weapons programme in Iran, shelved in 2003.
He has the rare distinction of being the only Iranian scientist named in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2015 “final assessment” of open questions about Iran’s nuclear programme and whether it was aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.