Iranian authorities have issued a warning that they are seeking revenge over the assassination of one of their top nuclear scientists.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was considered a key expert in Iran’s nuclear power programme – and was shot dead on Friday in a targeted strike near Tehran.
Reports have stated that a truck exploded while Fakhrizadeh was travelling by car in Absard, in Damavand county.
Gunmen are then said to have opened fire on the car as it came to a stop amid the devastation – with Fakhrizadeh being hit with bullets and later dying in hospiral.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the killing "as an act of state terror" within hours of the news of the assassination being made public.
And now Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for “definitive punishment” of those responsible for the assassination.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already accused Israel of being behind the attack – while there is also speculation that American President, Donald Trump, may have been involved in the authorisation of the strike.
In recent months, there has been growing concern that Iran has been stockpiling uranium – which can be used to make nuclear weapons.
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One Western diplomat previously told Reuters of Fakhrizadeh: “If Iran ever chose to weaponise (enrichment), Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb.”
Iran’s President Rouhani has warned: "We will retaliate.
"Our people are wiser than to fall in the trap of the Zionist regime (Israel)… Iran will surely respond to the martyrdom of our scientist at the proper time.”
Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Supreme Leader Khamenei has also warned of retaliation – and appeared to make reference to outgoing President Trump in a statement circulated on Saturday.
Sky News reports him stating: "In the last days of their gambling ally's political life, the Zionists seek to intensify and increase pressure on Iran to wage a full-blown war.
"We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions!"
President Trump has been a fierce critic of Iran over it’s nuclear power plans.
He imposed strict sanctions on the Middle Eastern country in 2018 – and warned that any country that continued to do business with Iran would be denied business with the USA as a consequence.
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The Trump administration intensified sanctions during 2020.
At the start of this year, the Trump administration ordered a drone strike on Iran’s general Qassem Suleimani which heightened tensions between the two countries.
As yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the killing of Fakhrizadeh.
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