Tehran / New York (dpa) – Following the murder of a senior Iranian nuclear physicist and Tehran’s blame on Israel, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged restraint.
Reports of the incident were noted, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told the German news agency on Friday (local time) in New York. “We call for restraint and believe it necessary to avoid measures that could lead to an escalation of tensions in the region.”
According to the government, Mohsen Fachrisadeh was shot and seriously injured in his car on Friday. Shortly afterwards, he died in a hospital. Iran’s Defense Ministry spoke of a “martyr’s death” when the news was announced.
President Hassan Ruhani accused the US and Israel of being behind the attack. “Once again imperialism and its Zionist mercenaries caused bloodshed and the death of an Iranian scientist,” Ruhani said on state television on Saturday.
This “terrorist attack” only proves the fear of Tehran’s enemies for the technological advancements of the Islamic Republic. However, the assassination will not stop the country from following Fachrisadeh’s path even more consistently, the president said.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had previously reported “serious indications” of Israeli involvement. At first, however, it was not clear who was behind the attack.
According to media reports, Fachrisadeh was shot dead in Ab-Sard, a suburb east of the capital Tehran. Several attackers have also been killed, according to local authorities. The Department of Defense later declared in an official statement on state television: “We hereby announce the martyrdom of Dr. Mohsen Fachrisadeh known. “
Iranian UN Ambassador Majid Tacht referred in a letter to Guterres that several senior Iranian scientists had been killed “in terrorist attacks” in the past decade. “Certain foreign circles” were responsible for this. The “cowardly” execution of Fachrisadeh – in which there are grave indications of Israel’s responsibility – is another attempt to chaos the region and disrupt Iran’s scientific development.
The nuclear physicist was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and an expert in manufacturing missiles. According to information from Iran’s Fars news agency, Israeli intelligence services have been trying to take him out for years. Most recently, Fachrisadeh headed the Department of Defense Research and Technological Innovation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposed him in the spring of 2018 in connection with a presentation on the Iranian nuclear program. “Write down this name: Fachrisadeh,” Netanyahu said at the time. Iranian Foreign Minister Sarid has now called on Twitter, in particular the European Union, “to give up its shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror”.
Israel and Iran are arch enemies. The collapse of Israel and the “liberation of Palestine” are part of the foreign policy doctrine of the Islamic Republic. The very existence of the Jewish state is threatened by Shia Iran and its nuclear program. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently described Israel as a “tumor” to be uprooted and removed by the Palestinians with a jihad (holy war).
Under President Donald Trump, the US unilaterally ended an international agreement aimed at preventing Iran from building an atomic bomb in 2018 and imposed new sanctions on the Tehran government. After a period of one year, during which Tehran unsuccessfully urged other contracting parties to comply with the treaty, Iran had also gradually disregarded almost all the provisions of the agreement. It is uncertain whether the US can return to the nuclear deal under newly elected President Joe Biden.
During the summer there was a mysterious series of fires and explosions in Iran. This concerned, among other things, a nuclear installation. The causes remained largely unclear. This left room for speculation – including about Israel as a possible creator.
The US initially did not comment on the murder. However, without comment, President Trump sent a tweet from Israeli journalist Yossi Melman about Fachrisadeh’s death via his Twitter account. In it, Melman wrote that Fachrisadeh had been the head of the secret Iranian military program and had been wanted for years by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. His death is a serious blow to Iran. Melman expressed in another tweet “confused” about Trump’s retweet.