This handout image supplied by the IIPA (Iran International Photo Agency) shows a view of the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant, as the first refueling took place on August 21, 2010 in Bushehr, southern Iran.
WASHINGTON – According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, a top Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated.
According to reports not independently confirmed by NBC News, Mohsin Fakhrizade died after injuring “the father of Iranian bombs,” firing at his car.
State media shared pictures of a black Nissan sedan with multiple bullet holes through the windshield and bloodshed on the road next to the car door. No group claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack.
Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif condemned the killing on Twitter and accused it of “serious signs” of Israeli involvement.
Fakhrizadeh’s death comes days before the 10-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahri, in which Iran also blamed Israel.
The Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The Pentagon declined to comment. The State Department and the National Security Council did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. President Donald Trump, however, retweeted a news article and comment about Fakhrizadeh’s death.
Little is known about Fakhrizadeh, a high-ranking Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, long seen as Iran’s top nuclear scientist, who oversees the regime’s secret weapons programs.
In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons, saying Fakhrizadeh was working on “special projects” within Iran’s Ministry of Defense.
“Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu said at the time.
Deadlock with Iran
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech on January 10, 2019, during a ceremony in Tehran, Iran.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Fakhrizadeh’s death is expected to increase tensions between Iran and the United States, which have escalated after Washington’s exit from Washington’s nuclear deal under the Trump administration.
The 2015 Comprehensive Comprehensive Action Plan, or JCPOA Agreement, brokered by the Obama administration, lifted sanctions on Iran that crippled its economy and nearly halved its oil exports. In exchange for sanctions relief, Iran accepted the limits of its nuclear program until its end in 2025.
In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew the United States from JCPOA. Trump called the JCPOA “the worst deal ever”.
Trump has previously stated that he wants to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran that imposes strict limits on its nuclear and ballistic missile work and suppresses the regime’s role in regional proxy wars. Tehran has refused to negotiate while US sanctions remain unchanged.
After Washington’s exit from the nuclear deal, other signatories of the agreement — Germany, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China — tried to keep the agreement alive.
In October, the United States re-enforced UN sanctions on Tehran through a unilateral process, which other members of the UN Security Council previously said Washington did not have the right to execute as it agreed to the nuclear deal in 2018. Was withdrawn from
After the attacks in the Persian Gulf, relations between the US and Iran took another turn for the worse situation last summer.
In June, US officials said the Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a US military surveillance drone on the Strait of Hormuz. Iran said the aircraft was on its territory.
A week after that attack, the US blamed Iran for the attack on two oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region and four tankers were attacked in May.
In June, the US slapped new sanctions on Iranian military leaders, who were responsible for shooting the drone. These measures were intended to block financial resources for Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Tensions rose again in September when the US blamed Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia in the world’s largest crude oil processing plant and oil field.
That attack forced the state to cut its production operations in half and triggered the biggest spike in crude oil prices in decades and renewed concerns of a new conflict in the Middle East. Iran says it was not behind the attacks.
Earlier this year, a US strike that killed Iran’s top military commander led the regime to pursue compliance with the international nuclear deal. In January, Iran said it would no longer limit its uranium enrichment capacity or nuclear research.
Iranian mourning meetings take place during the funeral procession of top General Qasim Soilmani, who was killed in his hometown Karaman on 7 January 2020.
Atta Canre | AFP | Getty Images