Tehran: Iran’s president vowed Saturday to exact revenge over the killing of a scientist linked to Tehran’s disbanded military nuclear program as he joined other officials in blaming Israel for the slaying.
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.
Speaking to a meeting of his government’s coronavirus taskforce, Rouhani reiterated that Fakhrizadeh’s death would not stop its nuclear program. Iran’s civilian nuclear program has continued its experiments and now enriches uranium up to 4.5%, far below weapons-grade levels of 90%.
But analysts have compared Fakhrizadeh to being on a par with Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the U.S.’ Manhattan Project in World War II that created the atom bomb.
“We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” Rouhani said.