Iran vows retaliation after top nuclear scientist shot dead near Tehran

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Father of Iran’s Nuclear Program

Iran has vowed retaliation after the architect of its nuclear programme was assassinated on a highway near Tehran, in a major escalation of tensions that risks placing the Middle East on a new war footing.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was ambushed with explosives and machine gun fire in the town of Absard, 70km (44 miles) east of Tehran. Efforts to resuscitate him in hospital failed. His bodyguard and family members were also wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Israel was probably to blame, and an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed retaliation. “We will strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them regret their action,” tweeted Hossein Dehghan.

“Many Iranian officials believe Trump, in conjunction with Israel and Saudi Arabia, is determined to weaken the chances of diplomacy by antagonising Iran before the US handover of power on 20 January.. . . “

“. . . . Earlier this week, Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, in the first publicly confirmed visit by an Israeli leader. Israeli media said they were joined by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.e the US handover of power on 20 January.” (The Guardian)

Source: The Guardian