Assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist triggers mass rallies
The assassination of the Iranian top nuclear scientist and researcher has drawn condemnation from Iranians from all walks of life.
A truck loaded with explosives blew up to intercept the car carrying top Iranian nuclear scientist and researcher, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, on Friday, in the countryside area east of Tehran. Eyewitnesses say five or six gunmen then rushed from a nearby vehicle and opened fire on his car.
Fakhrizadeh was seriously injured and taken to hospital, but medics were unable to save his life. The incident immediately sent its shockwaves across Iran and beyond, with Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif calling the attack an act of terror and linking it to Israel.
Less than 24 hours after the incident, people from all walks of life gathered outside the Iranian parliament to condemn the assassination, which they view as grave as the US assassination of top IRGC Commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January.
Fakhrizadeh served as the head of the Research and Innovation Organization of the defense ministry. The Iranian defense ministry says he had a long history in defense innovations and had made key efforts to promote Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami says the country’s first COVID-19 test kits were produced in a research center headed by assassinated Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, hailing the martyr as one of the pioneers of the country’s scientific movement against the novel coronavirus.
This had made him the number-one target of Israel's intelligence services, which have a track record of targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly a decade ago.
Observers say the assassination of the Iranian scientist comes as part of Israel's attempts to disrupt Iran's nuclear energy program, which Tel Aviv accuses of having military dimensions.
Iran has time and again dismissed such allegations and signed the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers as a sign of good will.
Now Fakhrizadeh became the fifth Iranian nuclear scientist who was eliminated in a terror attack. While all evidences attest to an Israeli involvement, Iranians strongly demand that the government take a harsh revenge. They say this would reduce the chances of more Iranian scientists becoming an easy target for terrorists.