Iran’s top nuclear scientist assassinated, Israel blamed

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, one of the most prominent nuclear scientists of Iran, was assassinated on Friday after his car was attacked outside Tehran. Iran has accused Israel of being behind the attack.

Iran’s defence ministry said in a statement that the scientist was “seriously wounded” when assailants attacked his car and engaged in a gunbattle with his security team.

Fakhrizadeh was later “martyred” after doctors failed to revive him, the statement added. He had been travelling near Absard city in Tehran province’s eastern Damavand county.

Fakhrizadeh headed the ministry’s research and innovation organization.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had once described the scientist as the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

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A state television report on the assassination described him as one “of our country’s nuclear scientists” and said that Israel “had an old and deep enmity towards him”.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there were “serious indications of an Israeli role” in the scientist’s assassination.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“This cowardice — with serious indications of Israeli role — shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he added.

Zarif called on the international community to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”