Iran Official: Some Perpetrators Arrested Over Assassination of Nuclear Scientist

Iran has blamed Israel for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, vowing to avenge his killing

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Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi pays his respect to the body of slain scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh among his family, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.
Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi pays his respect to the body of slain scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh among his family, in Tehran, November 28, 2020. Credit: ,AP

Some of those involved in the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist last month have been arrested, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an adviser to the Iranian parliament speaker, said on Tuesday, according to the semi-official news agency ISNA.

"The perpetrators of this assassination, some of whom have been identified and even arrested by the security services, will not escape justice," ISNA quoted Amir-Abdollahian as telling Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam TV.

Iran has blamed Israel for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was seen by Western intelligence services as the mastermind of a covert Iranian program to develop nuclear weapons capability. Tehran has long denied any such ambition.

On Monday, Tasnim, a semi-official news agency reported that the assassination was carried out remotely with artificial intelligence and a machine gun equipped with a "satellite-controlled smart system."

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the killing, but in the past has acknowledged pursuing covert, intelligence-gathering operations against the nuclear program of its arch-enemy Iran.

A photo released by the semi-official Fars News Agency shows the scene where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, east of Tehran, Iran, November 27, 2020. Credit: ,AP

The Islamic Republic has given contradictory details of Fakhrizadeh's death in a daytime November 27 ambush on his car on a highway near Tehran.

"No terrorists were present on the ground...Martyr Fakhrizadeh was driving when a weapon, using an advanced camera, zoomed in on him," Tasnim quoted Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, as saying in a ceremony on Sunday.

Senior Iranian officials have been making threats, suggesting that they will avenge the killing of Fakhrizadeh, causing Israel to take several defensive measures in anticipation of a possible Iranian retaliation. These include procedures for joint detection of missile or rocket fire at Israeli or American targets.  

Fakhrizadeh, identified by Israel as a prime player in what it says is a continuing Iranian quest for a nuclear weapon, was the fifth Iranian nuclear scientist killed in targeted attacks since 2010 inside Iran, and the second slaying of a high-ranking Iranian official in 2020.

The commander of the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in January. Tehran retaliated by firing missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq.

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