Nov 27th, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear physicist and head of the research and innovation agency of the Ministry of Defense, was suddenly assassinated, becoming the fifth in the past 10 years The persons involved in the assassination of Iran’s nuclear program are regarded as serious as the assassination of Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s “Quds Brigade” earlier this year.
A number of foreign media also analyzed and pointed out that the time of the attack was special, only more than 50 days before the transfer of power to the US government. The Biden team once released a signal to restart negotiations with Iran.
After the incident, hard-line protesters rushed to the Iranian presidential residence and shouted “War on the United States” slogan. The Iranian government pointed the finger at Israel and vowed to retaliate, giving a “thunderous blow” to those behind the scenes. Israel, which remains silent, has increased the alertness of embassies everywhere.
Don’t give in, don’t give in, only go to war with the United States!
According to a report by the US “New York Times” on November 27, that night, a few hours after the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientists, Iranian hardline protesters staged a demonstration outside the presidential residence in Tehran.
“Don’t give in to the United States, don’t make concessions to the United States, only go to war with the United States!” Iranian TV broadcast and upload social media videos showed that demonstrators chanted slogans during the protests.
The demonstrators also called for the expulsion of international personnel monitoring Iran’s nuclear program. The signs they held high read, “Silence is a license for more assassinations” and “Mr. President, they killed your minister’s adviser. Stop negotiations.”
In Iran, the assassination is considered as serious as the assassination of Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in January this year.
A senior Iranian politician said that this incident showed that only naive Iranians would believe that the United States and Israel can be trusted in negotiations.
According to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Iranian President Rouhani accused Israel of killing a top nuclear scientist on Friday and said that the incident would not delay Iran’s nuclear program.
Rouhani said in a televised speech on Saturday that his country will respond “in due course”, but the killing of Fahrizad will not allow Iran to make a hasty decision.
He said at a cabinet meeting broadcast on television: “The enemies of Iran should know that the Iranian people and officials are braver than those who’do not pursue this crime’.”
“In due course, they will pay for it.”
In an earlier statement, Rouhani had accused “the mercenaries of the Zionist repressive regime”—Israel—that was behind the attack.
“The assassination of the martyr Fahrizad shows the despair and hatred of our enemies… His sacrifice will not delay our success.”
Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, also vowed to launch a “thunderous strike” on the killer.
According to CNN news on November 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said that the assassination was “a sign of cowardice, and there are major signs that Israel is involved.”
He tweeted: “Terrorists murdered an outstanding Iranian scientist today. This cowardice shows the perpetrator’s desperate belligerence, and there are serious signs that Israel is involved. Iran calls on the international community, especially the European Union: End their shameful double standards and condemn this kind of state terrorism.”
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations also warned on Friday that Iran reserves the right to “take all necessary measures” to defend itself. He sent a letter to the United Nations leader and pointed out that there are signs that the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist was an attack launched by Israel at the instigation of the United States, and the perpetrators “attempted to undermine Iran’s scientific and technological development.”
The Iranian side also hopes that UN Secretary-General Guterres and the Security Council can “strongly condemn this inhumane act of terrorism and take necessary measures against the perpetrator.”
It is not clear how well the United States has prior knowledge of this operation, but the United States and Israel are the closest allies and have long shared intelligence about Iran.
The Trump administration stated that they are paying close attention to this apparent assassination. Trump reposted a series of reports in Hebrew and English. An American official told CNN that the death of Fahrizad was “a major event.”
According to the semi-official Iranian Student News Agency, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, Hossein Salami, issued a statement calling the assassination a “terrorist operation.”
He shouted to the “lost Iranian enemy, especially the planner and coordinator of this cowardly terrorist act,” that revenge “is already our job.”
Some Iranian officials and politicians also expressed concern about the huge security loopholes exposed by the incident and said that this has allowed Israeli agents to penetrate Iran.
According to the latest news from the Associated Press, in a statement on the 28th, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei called Fahrizad an “Iran’s outstanding nuclear and defense scientist” and said that after the assassination, Iran’s chief The mission is “to give clear punishment to perpetrators and messengers.”
The timing of the assassination triggered speculation, and the Israeli embassy was on high alert
According to the British “Guardian” statistics, Fahrizad was the fifth Iranian “nuclear weapon” project person to be assassinated in the past 10 years.
Iran has repeatedly accused Israel of participating in assassination operations. The Israeli side has always declined to comment on these allegations, while the United States, which Iran has called “accomplices,” has repeatedly denied them.
Many Iranian officials believe that Trump, together with Israel and Saudi Arabia, intends to weaken diplomatic leeway by triggering Iranian confrontation before the handover of power in the United States on January 20.
This time, Israel has yet to comment on the latest assassination.
When asked to comment on the attack, an Israeli military spokesperson said, “We do not comment on reports from foreign media.” Netanyahu’s office also stated that they would not comment on “these reports.”
The New York Times quoted three US officials including two intelligence officials as saying that Israel was behind the attack. In April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu specifically mentioned Fahrizad’s name in a speech on Iran’s nuclear program.
In addition, Reuters quoted Israeli N12 news reports on November 28 that on Saturday, Israeli embassies around the world were on high alert . A spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would not comment on the security of its missions abroad.
Regarding this incident, John Brennan, the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, believed that the killing of this scientist was a “crime” and a “very reckless” behavior that might exacerbate conflicts in the region.
The BBC commented that these weeks are crucial. US President-elect Biden will take office on January 20, when he will deal with Iran in new ways, such as a possible return to the 2015 nuclear agreement. All parties know that this is a time full of risks.
Rouhani said that Iran “is very wise and will not fall into the trap of Israel.”
If retaliatory action is taken immediately, it may lead to a greater response and fall into a greater crisis, which may endanger any “new beginning” opportunities in January next year.
CNN also suggested that there are more than 50 days left before Trump’s term ends. President-elect Biden will be sworn in, and diplomatic contacts between Tehran and Washington may resume again. But the death of Fahrizad made Iran’s hardliners claim that “mediation is futile.”
CNN speculates that Iran wants diplomatic contact with Biden instead of direct conflict.
The New York Times also pointed out that the attack may complicate Biden’s return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
The Pentagon announced earlier on Saturday that it had dispatched the USS Nimitz back to the Middle East. The Associated Press called this an unusual arrangement.
The Pentagon stated that the reason for this decision was the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. “It is prudent to increase defense capabilities in the area in response to any emergency.”