Saturday November 28, 2020
After the death of a well-known Iranian nuclear scientist, President Ruhani names Israel and the US as the culprits. According to the New York Times, US officials have unofficially confirmed that Israel was behind the attack. The timing should also be chosen deliberately.
After the fatal attack on one of the country’s most important nuclear researchers, Iran’s President Hassan Ruhani has accused Israel of acting as a US “mercenary”. The “global arrogance” – a term used by Iran for the United States – was responsible for the death of the scientist Mohsen Fachrisadeh with Israel “as a mercenary,” said Ruhani on his official website.
Fachrisadeh was killed in an attack near Tehran on Friday. The Ministry of Defense in Tehran spoke of a “martyr’s death” when the news was announced. The secret service and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) have started investigations. The nuclear physicist was a member of the IRGC and an expert in rocket manufacture. Most recently, the 59-year-old headed the research and innovation department of the Iranian Ministry of Defense.
As the “New York Times” wrote, a US official and two other intelligence officials confirmed that Israel was behind the attack. They didn’t give any further details. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called the scientist the father of the Iranian nuclear program. In 2008 the US imposed sanctions on Fachrisadeh for “activities and transactions that contributed to the development of the Iranian nuclear program”.
“Attack on diplomatic efforts”
Ruhani stated that Fachrisadeh’s death “does not disrupt Iran’s scientific progress”. According to the Iranian nuclear chief, the assassination will neither stop nor impair the progress of the country’s nuclear program. “Fachrisadeh’s path will now be continued even more intensely,” said Ali-Akbar Salehi. Communications Minister Mohamed Jawad Asari Jahromi made a similar statement. “Thousands will grow back for the one flower that is torn out,” tweeted the minister.
Many observers also saw the attack as an attempt by Israel and the administration of US President Donald Trump to torpedo a new beginning in relations between Tehran and Washington. “It was not just an attack on the professor, but on the diplomatic efforts that both countries would undertake after Joe Biden took office,” tweeted political scientist Mohsen Milani. The prominent Iranian journalist Sahra Asghari sees it similarly. “The attack was the price Iran had to pay for Trump’s election defeat.”
Meanwhile, the US announced economic sanctions against Chinese and Russian companies because they had participated in the development of the Iranian nuclear program. “We will continue to work to hinder Iran’s efforts to develop missiles and to make use of our sanctions options,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The sanctions imposed on Wednesday are directed against the two China-based companies “Chengdu Best New Materials” and “Zibo Elim Trade” as well as against the Russia-based companies “Nilco Group” and “Joint Stock Company Elecon”. The four companies are accused of having provided “sensitive technologies” for the Iranian nuclear program. In return, according to Pompeo, they will be subject to restrictions on US government aid and their exports for two years.