Daily US Times: The most senior nuclear scientist in Iran Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated near the capital Tehran.
Iran’s defence ministry has confirmed the news.
The nuclear scientist died in hospital after an attack in Absard, in Damavand county.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister, has condemned the killing “as an act of state terror”.
Western intelligence agencies believe Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was behind a covert Iranian nuclear weapons programme.
In 2014, one western diplomat told Reuters news agency: “If Iran ever chose to weaponise (enrichment), Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb.”
Iran has always been claiming its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
But the assassination happened amid fresh concern about the increased amount of enriched uranium that the country is producing. Enriched uranium is a vital component for both military nuclear weapons and civil nuclear power generation.
A deal in 2015 with six world powers had placed limits on its production, but since President Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, Iran has been deliberately reneging on its agreements.
President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reengage with Iran when he takes over the US presidency on January 20th, despite longstanding opposition from Israel .
Between 2010 and 2012, four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated and the country has accused Israel of complicity in the killings.
Fakhrizadeh’s name was specifically mentioned in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation about Iran’s nuclear programme in April 2018.