Iran strongly condemns nuke scientist’s assassination, vows punishment

TEHRAN/  Xinhua

Senior Iranian officials have unanimously condemned the assassination of the country’s prominent nuclear scientist and called for punishment of those behind the terror attack.

On Friday, Iran confirmed that Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh, a high-ranking Iranian nuclear physicist, was assassinated near the capital Tehran by “armed terrorists.”

“The Iranian prominent defense and nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhri Zadeh was martyred by the criminal mercenaries,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a message on Saturday.

Khamenei called on the authorities to “seriously … probe this crime and punish the perpetrators,” according to the leader’s official website.

He noted that the scientific and technological efforts of Fakhri Zadeh will be continued.

Moreover, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country will respond to the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh at an “appropriate” time, official IRNA news agency reported.

“The Iranian nation will not allow the crime to remain unanswered,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.

“This brutal terror act indicates panic among our enemies at a time when they feel pressures (against Iran) will be lessened and the world condition will change,” he added.

In letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council on Friday, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi noted that the Islamic republic reserves the right to defend itself.

“The cowardly assassination of Martyr Fakhri Zadeh … is another desperate attempt to wreak havoc on our region and to disrupt Iran’s scientific and technological development,” Takht-Ravanchi said in the letters.

Hossein Salami, chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, also vowed “a severe revenge and punishment” in response to the assassination of Fakhri Zadeh, a prominent professor at Imam Hossein University in Tehran.

“Undoubtedly, valuable efforts and endeavors of this honorable martyr in the field of the defense industry and other strategic areas of the country, as well as the field of countering the coronavirus, will remain in the historical memory of this land,” Salami said.

On Friday, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, called for exercising restraint and avoiding escalation in the Middle East region following the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist.

The Iranian government suspects that the assassination was performed by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, according to media reports.

Israel has so far neither confirmed nor denied the allegation. Enditem