Iran’s assassinated nuclear chief lies in state as the nation mourns
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh who is generally regarded as the ‘father’ of Iran’s bomb program was killed after his convoy was ambushed
The scientist was shot dead in his car by 12 highly-trained assassins in the city of Absard, near Tehran on Friday
Details have been revealed by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze who obtained leaked information
Simultaneously a gun and bomb attack blasted convoy before Fakhrizadeh was dragged from car and finished off… then the 12 assassins melted away
The killers – which included a pair of snipers – formed 62-person group of plotters, reports have revealed
Iran publicly claims that Israel is behind the hit
Remarkable detail of the elaborate plot to assassinate ‘prominent and distinguished’ Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been leaked as the nation claim Israel is behind the hit.
Fakhrizadeh who has been called the ‘father’ of Iran’s bomb program,- was shot dead in his car by 12 highly-trained assassins following an explosion in the city of Absard, 50 miles east of Tehran.
The killer squad, which included a pair of snipers, formed part of a 62-person group of plotters, it has been revealed. The remaining 50 people were responsible for logistical support.
Extraordinary detail about Fakhrizadeh’s final moments was revealed by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze who claims he received leaked information from the country’s authorities.
Fakhrizadeh’s death sent tensions in the regions escalating as Iran has repeatedly blamed Israel’s national intelligence agency Mossad for the the assassination. Furthermore, several prominent figures vowing revenge.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who has the final say on all matters of state – yesterday said Iran’s first priority after the killing was the ‘definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.’ He did not elaborate.
And, in an intervention that risks inflaming conflict even further, a former head of the US’s Central Intelligence Agency labelled the assassination a ‘criminal’ act and branded it ‘highly reckless’.
John Brennan – who was director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017 under President Barack Obama – said he did not know who was to blame for the murder of Fakhrizadeh but said it ‘risks lethal retaliation and a new round of regional conflict’.
Israel was behind the attack, one American official and two other intelligence officials also told the New York Times.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed Friday in an ambush involving an explosion and then machine gun fire on a road between the countryside town of Absard and the capital of Tehran.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has vowed revenge.
The 12-man team, which allegedly included a pair of snipers, formed part of a 62-person strong group of plotters. The remaining 50 people were responsible for logistical support.
The remaining 50 people were responsible for logistical support.
Extraordinary detail about Fakhrizadeh’s final moments were revealed by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze who claims he received leaked information from the country’s authorities.
Ahwaze said the attack was planned for a roundabout in Absard, at the foot of a tree-lined boulevard which enters the city.
Fakhrizadeh died on Friday after being seriously wounded when assailants targeted his car and engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards outside Tehran, according to Iran’s defense ministry.
Iran’s top nuclear scientist has been on the radar of western countries for decades. Going back to 2008, US slapped sanctions on Fakhrizadeh for ‘activities and transactions that contributed to the development of Iran’s nuclear program’.
Iran President Hassan Rouhani pinned the blame for the killing on ‘the wicked hands of the global arrogance,’ a term usually used to refer to the United States.
Giving details of the assassination plot, Ahwaze said the attack was planned for a roundabout in Absard, at the foot of a tree-lined boulevard which enters the city.
The team had been watching Fakhrizadeh, and knew that he was going to be driving from Tehran to Absard on Friday.
The mountain retreat of 10,000 people is where many well-off Tehranis have second homes, and Fakhrizadeh, 59, had a villa there.
The narrative is that the 12 assassins – described as being highly-trained and assisted by ‘security and intelligence services abroad’ – were deployed to Absard while the remaining 50 people in the 62-person strong group helped with logistical support. Ahwaze did not specify whether the logistics support was provided from within Iran, or abroad.
A Hyundai Santa Fe with four passengers, four motorcycles and two snipers were waiting for Fakhrizadeh at the scene of the ambush – along with a booby-trapped Nissan pickup.
Half an hour before Fakhrizadeh’s convoy of three bulletproof cars arrived, the electricity was cut off to the area, Ahwaze reported.
The team were in place when the first car passed the roundabout.
As the third car passed, the Nissan exploded, damaging electricity poles and transmitters, according to a state TV report from the area on Friday night.
The force of the explosion from the bomb reportedly, hurled debris at least 300 meters.
The team of 12 assassins, including two snipers, opened fire on the second car, containing Fakhrizadeh.
As the security detail returned fire, an intense gunfight ensued, according to Sepah Cybery, a social media channel affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Ahwaze tweeted: ‘According to Iranian leaks, the leader of the assassination team took Fakhrizadeh out of his car and shot him and made sure he was killed.’
The hit squad then vanished, having sustained no losses to their team, according to the report.
They knew the man they were protecting had for years been Mossad’s number one target.
A police helicopter landed in the area to transport Fakhrizadeh and others to the hospital, according to a video posted by a resident who said ‘several people are dead.’
When members of Fakhrizadeh’s security detail arrived in hospital, they were surprised to find that there was no electricity, after the power had been cut. They are then transported to Tehran.
Israel has often favored covert ‘wet work’ tactics against its enemies – including assassinations.
The country’s national intelligence agency Mossad has been accused carrying out attacks on members of Palestinian fundamentalist group Hamas in recent years.
At 10.28am EST (7.30pm local time) on Friday, the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said that ‘an eminent Iranian scientist’ had been killed, with the suspected aid of Israel.
Fakhrizadeh’s body lay in a flag-draped, open coffin at a mosque on Saturday in central Tehran, where Iran’s chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, prayed over his body in a public spectacle of mourning.
Friday’s attack comes just days before the 10-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari and the incident has served to escalate tensions in the region.
Iran has accused Israel of trying to provoke a war by killing the scientist – who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out publicly when he said: ‘Remember that name’, in a news conference.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday 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,’ but he did not elaborate.
Tehran blamed that attack on Israel too as it came at the height of Western fears over Iran’s nuclear program.
Hossein Dehghan – who is a presidential candidate in Iran’s 2021 election as well as an adviser to its supreme leader Ali Khamenei – echoed the claim that Israel was behind the attack.
‘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,’ said Dehghan, apparently referring to Donald Trump’s last days in office as US president.
It comes amid fears that the Trump administration could order a strike on Iran in the weeks before the president relinquishes power to President-Elect Joe Biden.
Dehghan added: ‘We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions.’
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said Israel was to blame for the ambush in a televised speech on Saturday, and said Iran would retaliate for the killing of Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi at ‘the proper time’.
Rouhani said: ‘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.’
Rouhani said that Fakhrizadeh’s death would not stop its nuclear program, something Supreme Leader Khamenei said as well.
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had suggested Israel was behind the attack, ‘Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist’, he said.
Zarif wrote on Twitter: ‘This cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators.
‘Iran calls on the international community – and especially the EU – to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.’
Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement placed the response for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Iran’s hands: ‘We condemn this heinous attack and see that the response to this crime is in the hands of those concerned in Iran,’ Qassem said in an interview with Al Manar television on Friday.
Fakhrizadeh was killed by ‘those sponsored by America and Israel’ and said the assassination was part of a war on Iran and the region, he said.
So far Israel has declined to immediately comment on the killing of Fakhrizadeh.