Israel “mercenary” of the United States: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday accused his country’s sworn enemy of wanting to sow “chaos” with the assassination the day before near Tehran of a senior scientist in Iran’s nuclear program.
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“Once again, the ruthless hands of global arrogance, with the usurping Zionist regime as a mercenary, are stained with the blood of a son of this nation,” Rohani denounced in a statement posted on his official website, referring to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Iran generally uses the term “global arrogance” to refer to the United States.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 59, succumbed to his injuries after the attack on his car with a vehicle loaded with explosives and gunfire, attacked by his bodyguards, the Defense Ministry said on Friday , specifying that the scientist was head of the research and innovation department of the ministry.
Mr. Rohani pledged that his death “does not disrupt” the scientific progress of his country. According to him, this assassination is due to “the weakness and the incapacity” of the enemies of Tehran to prevent their development.
In a televised intervention, he then accused the Jewish state of wanting to “create chaos, but they should know that we have unmasked them and that they will not succeed.” “The Iranian nation is too smart to fall into the trap of the Zionist conspiracy,” he said.
“The enemies of Iran should know that the bravery of the Iranian people and officials is such that this criminal act will not remain without consequences”, warned Mr. Rouhani on television, during the weekly meeting devoted to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“In due time, they will answer for this crime,” he said.
Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian armed movement considered a “terrorist” organization by Washington, “strongly condemned” the assassination on Saturday.
He denounced the assassinations carried out by “murderous and terrorist gangs to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining the resources of pride and power and to preserve scientific progress and its political and intellectual independence”.
The Minister of Defense, Amir Hatami, noted Friday evening on television that Mr. Fakhrizadeh had had a “prominent role in defense innovations”. “He was managing the anti-nuclear defense and doing a lot of work,” he added, without further clarification.
The head of Iranian diplomacy, Mohammad Javad Zarif, had accused Israel on Friday of having played a “role” in this “terrorist act”.
“Terrorists today murdered a prominent Iranian scientist. This cowardice – with serious indications of Israel’s role – shows the desperate warmongering of its perpetrators, ”the minister tweeted.
The scientist had been accused by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, of being the father of an Iranian nuclear program with a military vocation which Tehran has always denied the existence.
The US State Department indicated in 2008 that Mr. Fakhrizadeh was carrying out “activities and transactions contributing to the development of Iran’s nuclear program.”
“This barbaric assassination shows that our enemies are going through difficult weeks during which they feel (…) their pressure weakening, the world situation changing”, Mr. Rohani again noted. Iran’s enemies “want to make the most of (…) these few weeks” so as to “create an uncertain situation in the region”, he continued, without further details.
This assassination comes less than two months before the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden as President of the United States.
He wants to renew the dialogue after the mandate of Donald Trump, the United States having left at his initiative in 2018 the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program signed three years earlier. Washington, as part of its “maximum pressure” policy, then reinstated and then tightened sanctions against Iran.
Mr. Trump recently polled senior US officials on the possibility of “taking action” against an Iranian nuclear site, the US daily New York Times said on November 17, adding that they had dissuaded him.
Several nuclear scientists in Iran have been assassinated in recent years, with Tehran systematically blaming Israel.