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Assassinated Iranian scientist shot with remote-controlled machine gun: Report
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 30 - 11 - 2020

The Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated east of Tehran was shot by a remote-controlled machine gun operating out of another car, the semi-official Fars News Agency said on Sunday.
With top Iranian officials blaming Israel, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others have promised revenge for the Friday killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was the country's chief nuclear scientist.
There were conflicting accounts from Iranian news agencies about how the attack unfolded.
The Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated east of Tehran was shot by a remote-controlled machine gun operating out of another car, the semi-official Fars News Agency said Sunday.
The Fars News report said Fakhrizadeh was traveling with his wife in a bulletproof car, alongside three security personnel vehicles, when he heard what sounded like bullets hitting a vehicle, and he exited the car to determine what had happened.
When he got out, a remote-controlled machine gun opened fire from a Nissan stopped about 150 meters (164 yards) from Fakhrizadeh's car, the agency said.
Fakhrizadeh was hit at least three times, according to Fars News. His bodyguard was also shot. Following the gunfire, the Nissan exploded, the news agency reported, adding the attack lasted three minutes.
Fars News' version of events has not independently been confirmed.
The semi-official Iranian Students News Agency also reported Fakhrizadeh's car was hit by gunfire, followed by an explosion and more gunfire. ISNA cited Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami as its source.
"Based on reports received from members of his security detail, Fakhrizadeh's vehicle was initially targeted by gunfire, after which a Nissan vehicle laden with explosives was set off in close proximity to them as gunfire, targeting their vehicle, was continuing," Hatami was quoted as saying.
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, a state television outlet, said the explosion happened first, followed by gunfire from attackers.
Seyed Kamal Kharrazi, the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, compared the assassination to the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Sunday. Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike earlier this year in Iraq.
"Undoubtedly, the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a calculated and decisive answer to the criminals who took Martyr Fakhrizadeh," Kharrazi was quoted as saying.
Fakhrizadeh was the head of the research center of new technology in the elite Revolutionary Guards and was a leading figure in Iran's nuclear program.
Khameini wrote Saturday on a Twitter account that often carries his official statements, "Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by the oppressive enemies. This rare scientific mind lost his life for his everlasting great scientific work. He lost his life for God and the supreme leader."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community "to end their shameful double standards" and "condemn this act of state terror." He added that the attack showed "serious indications of Israeli role."
Maj. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, Khamenei's military adviser, tweeted Saturday that "Zionists" are seeking to create "all-out war" and vowed to "descend like lightning" on Fakhrizadeh's killers.
President Hassan Rouhani, also among the many Iranian leaders blaming Israel, promised retaliation as well, saying during a cabinet meeting Saturday, "The think tanks and the enemies of Iran must know that the Iranian nation and the officials in charge in the country are brave and determined to respond to the murder in time."
The killing, he said, was carried out at "the filthy hands of oppressors, in concert with the illegitimate Zionist regime."
Iran has provided no evidence of Israeli involvement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office declined to comment to CNN on Friday.
Israeli Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel's Channel 12 he didn't know who killed Fakhrizadeh, but called it "very embarrassing for Iran."
The US State Department and International Atomic Energy Agency have said in multiple reports that Fakhrizadeh held deep insight into the Islamic Republic's nuclear capabilities. In 2018, Netanyahu said Fakhrizadeh was the head of Project Amad, which he and others describe as a secret nuclear weapons endeavor.
"Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh," the prime minister told reporters at the time. — Courtesy CNN


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