Who was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh? Death of Iran nuclear scientist triggers fear of revenge attack on US

Who was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh? Death of Iran nuclear scientist triggers fear of revenge attack on US
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The death of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, has steered the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's demand for “definitive punishment” of those behind the killing of the scientist on Saturday, November 28. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the scientist who led Tehran’s disbanded military nuclear program, had been in the shadows for years. Following death, his image was everywhere in the Iranian media as his widow spoke on state television and officials publicly demanded revenge on Israel for the scientist’s slaying.

Fakhrizadeh was injured after five gunmen fired at his sedan during an ambush near Tehran on Friday, November 27. The nuclear mastermind died from his catastrophic wounds later in hospital and his funeral was held on Sunday, November 29, as reported by The Sun. There are now fears that Iran would hit out at the United States, Israel’s closest ally in the region, as protesters burned images of President Donald Trump and president-elect Joe Biden in Tehran on Sunday. Biden had earlier indicated that his administration will consider re-entering Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Fakhrizadeh headed Iran’s AMAD Project which Israel and the West claimed was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon. Speaking earlier Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani blamed Israel for killing the country's top scientist and said Iran will respond to "the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time". “The Iranian nation is smarter than falling into the trap of the Zionists. They are thinking to create chaos," Rouhani said, while Fakhrizadeh’s unnamed widow said "he wanted to get martyred and his wish came true" on state TV.

Fakhrizadeh was also a member of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and has been compared by The New York Times to J Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist, who was the director of the Los Alamos laboratory during the development of the world’s first atomic weapons. Born in Qom in 1958, Fakhrizadeh taught physics at Imam Hussein University in Tehran. Rouhani and Khamenei said that Fakhrizadeh’s death would not stop the nuclear program as Iran’s civilian atomic program has continued its experiments and now enriches a growing uranium stockpile up to 4.5% purity in response to the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal after the US′ 2018 withdrawal from the accord.

Israel, long suspected of killing Iranian scientists a decade ago amid earlier tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, has yet to comment on Fakhrizadeh’s killing. However, the attack bore the hallmarks of a carefully planned, military-style ambush, the likes of which Israel has been accused of conducting before.

Trump retweeted a posting from Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, an expert on the Israeli Mossad intelligence service, about the killing. Melman’s tweet said, “Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in Damavand, east of Tehran according to reports in Iran. He was head of Iran’s secret military program and wanted for many years by Mossad. His death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran.”



Hossein Dehghan a top Iranian military adviser tweeted, “My old friend and brother is a martyr #محسن_فخری‌زاده He was a person whose name instilled fear and terror in the enemies of this border and the fruit of his struggles will continue to be their nightmares. Those who are fighting behind political disputes without any pretensions and carelessness, and in this way, they will be martyred.”


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