Bahrain Urges 'Maximum Restraint' After Iranian Nuclear Scientist's Assassination

Bahrain joins UAE in condemning killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh that was attributed to Israel, months after normalizing ties

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Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, November 18, 2020.
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, November 18, 2020. Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA - AFP

Bahrain's Foreign Ministry condemned on Monday the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran and called for all parties to show restraint.

"Given what the region is going through, the kingdom of Bahrain calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid the region drifting to new levels of instability and threatening peace," the ministry said in a statement.

Fakhrizadeh, long suspected by Western and Israeli government of masterminding a secret nuclear weapons program, was ambushed on a highway near Tehran on Friday and gunned down in his car.

Iran's clerical and military rulers have blamed the Islamic Republic's longtime enemy, Israel, for the killing. Iran has in the past accused Israel of killing several Iranian nuclear scientists since 2010.

The condemnation from Bahrain, who in September announced it had agreed to normalize ties with Israel, follows a similar statement on Sunday from the United Arab Emirates, another Gulf state who normalized relations with Israel.

Kuwait and Russia were some of the other countries to join in condemning the attack. Kuwait's Foreign Ministry said it rejects "anything that would increase tension and undermine stability in the region," while Moscow called on "all parties to refrain from taking steps that could lead to an escalation of tensions."

The slain nuclear scientist was buried in northern Tehran on Monday, as Iran's defense minister promised the Islamic Republic would retaliate for his killing.

State TV showed Fakhrizadeh's coffin, wrapped by an Iranian flag in a ceremony at the Defense Ministry, where only several dozen senior military commanders and his family attended due to coronavirus precautions.

"The enemies know and I, as a soldier, tell them that no crime, no terror and no stupid act will go unanswered by the Iranian people," said Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in a televised speech at the ceremony.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said on Sunday Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by an automatic machine gun operated with a remote control. Witnesses on Friday told state TV that there were gunmen on the ground.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has declined to comment on the killing. An Israeli cabinet minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, said on Saturday he did not know who carried it out.

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