The “terrorist attack” on the nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh shows the fear of Tehran’s enemies about the technological progress of the Islamic Republic, said President Hassan Rouhani.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has accused the US and Israel of being behind the murder of nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. “Once again, imperialism and its Zionist mercenaries caused bloodshed and the death of an Iranian scientist,” said Rouhani on state television on Saturday. The “terrorist attack” only shows the fear of Tehran’s enemies about the technological progress of the Islamic Republic. However, the murder will not prevent the country from pursuing Fakhrizadeh’s path even more consistently, said the president.
Fakhrizadeh was shot in his car on Friday in Absard, an eastern suburb of the capital Tehran, and was so badly injured that he died shortly afterwards in a hospital. The Ministry of Defense in Tehran spoke of a “martyr’s death”. The nuclear physicist was a member of the Revolutionary Guard and an expert in the manufacture of rockets. Most recently he headed the research department in the Ministry of Defense.
US Naval Association relocated to Persian Gulf?
The New York Times (Saturday, online) reported that a US representative and two intelligence officials had declared that Israel was behind the attack. It is unclear whether the US government was informed beforehand, but the two states are closest allies. There were reports in US media that a US naval unit had been relocated to the Persian Gulf, which was justified with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged moderation after the attack. “We call for restraint and see it as necessary to avoid measures that could lead to an escalation of tensions in the region,” said a UN spokesman for the German Press Agency in New York on Friday.
The Iranian UN ambassador Majid Takht reminded Guterres in a letter that several Iranian scientists had been killed in attacks in recent years. The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is another attempt to throw the region into chaos and disrupt the scientific development of Iran. In the summer, a series of fires and explosions damaged infrastructure and nuclear facilities in Iran. At that time, too, there was speculation about Israel as the originator, especially since Israel repeatedly attacks Iranian military facilities in Syria.
The secret service and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) are investigating the attack. It is clear to the Iranian leadership that Israel is behind the attack because Fakhrizadeh has been on Israel’s blacklist for years. In addition, only the archenemy Israel benefits from the death of the nuclear physicist.
Torpedoing a Reboot?
Observers from Tehran also saw the attack as an attempt by Israel and the administration of US President Donald Trump to torpedo a fresh start in relations between Tehran and Washington. “It was not just an attack on the professor, but on the diplomatic efforts that were to be made by both countries after Joe Biden took office,” tweeted the Tehran political scientist Mohsen Milani. The prominent Iranian journalist Sahra Asghari sees it similarly. “The attack was the price Iran had to pay for Trump’s election defeat.” The US government, Biden’s team and Israel did not initially comment on the murder.
Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi assured on Saturday that Fakhrizadeh’s assassination would neither halt nor impair the progress of the Iranian civil nuclear program. Fakhrizadeh’s path will only be continued more intensely. Israel accuses Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons alongside the civilian nuclear program, which threatens its very existence.
Trump had terminated an international agreement that is supposed to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb in 2018 and has since tried to seriously damage Iran economically with tough sanctions against key industries. Since a period of one year, during which Tehran unsuccessfully urged its contractual partners to comply with the Vienna nuclear deal, Iran has also been progressively withdrawing from the agreement. So far, Iran has hoped that the US will return to the agreement under Biden. However, the Sunni-Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf are urging Biden to coordinate with them before taking such a step and also to include Iranian conventional armaments in an agreement
(WHAT / dpa)