One of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was today assassinated by a hit team that fired on his motorcade near Tehran, Iran's defence ministry said.
Armed terrorist elements have attacked the car carrying Fakhrizadeh, head of the Defense Ministry’s Research and Innovation Organization, the defence ministry said in a statement released on Friday evening.
"In a clash between the scientist’s bodyguard team and the assassins, Mr. Fakhrizadeh was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital. The efforts by the medial teams to resuscitate the Iranian scientist failed and he was martyred," the statement added.
Reports suggest that the assassins had detonated another vehicle before shooting at the car carrying Fakhrizadeh. A number of people have been killed in the incident, the identity of whom is still unknown.
Tasnim News said the incident occured at 2.30 this afternoon local time Another news source, Raja News said that the top scientist has been assassinated in Absard county near Damavand, 60 km east of Tehran.
Fakhrizadeh was reportedly the only Iranian scientist that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had cited in a program. He was introduced by Netanyahu during the unveiling of the Iran nuclear archives last year as the "father of the Iranian nuclear program."
Israeli news source, Globes reported that several assassination attempts to kill him had failed in the past years.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s purported assassination come just days after reports that the outgoing Trump administration of the US was planning to attack Iran. Reports in Israeli media last week said the country’s armed forces had been put on alert in anticipation of a US attack on Iran.
The presence of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in Israel and the reported hush-hush meeting between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Mossad Chief with the Saudi Arabian crown price, Mohammed Bin Salman last week add to the mystery. Was this the US “attack” on Iran?
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh would the second big hit on Iran in a year following the murder of Iranian General Solemani outside Baghdad airport, a killing owned up by the Pentagon.
Following Solemani’s killing, Iran had attacked a US base in Iraq with missiles that injured several soldiers. It remains to be seen what action Tehran might take this time around.
Several Iranian scientists have been assassinated over the past decade, including Masoud Ali-Mohammadi (January 2010), Majid Shahriari (November 2010), Dariush Rezaei Nejad (July 2011), and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan (January 2012), Days after the assassination of Ali-Mohammadi, the Iranian intelligence ministry arrested Majid Jamali Fashi, who later confessed to having killed Ali-Mohammadi on the orders of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, according to a 2014 Tasnim News report.