Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday called for the “definitive punishment” of those behind the killing of a scientist linked to Tehran’s disbanded military nuclear program, a slaying the Islamic Republic has blamed on Israel.
Israel, long suspected of killing scientists a decade ago amid tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, has yet to comment on the killing Friday of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. However, the attack bore the hallmarks of a carefully planned, military-style ambush.
The slaying threatens to renew tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s term, just as President-elect Joe Biden has suggested his administration could return to Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers from which Trump earlier withdrew. The Pentagon announced early Saturday that it sent the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier back into the Mideast.
In a statement, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Fakhrizadeh “the country’s prominent and distinguished nuclear and defensive scientist.”
Khamenei said Iran’s first priority after the killing was the “definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.” He did not elaborate.
Speaking to a meeting of his government’s coronavirus task force earlier Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani blamed Israel for the killing.
“We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” Rouhani said.
Sources: NY Post; Image: The Federal News