On Monday, Iran English-language Press TV reported that the missile used in last week’s killing of a leading Iranian nuclear scientist was weapon made in Israel.
“The weapon collected from the site of the terrorist act (where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was murdered) bears the Israeli military industry’s logo and specifications,” an anonymous source told Press TV.
Eli Cohen, Israeli intelligence minister, speaking before the Press TV report, told radio station 103 FM on Monday that he did not know who was responsible.
Separately, Ali Shamkhani, member of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, told state TV that a number of failed operations” against Fakhrizadeh had been conducted by Iranian enemies in the past.
“This time, an entirely new, professional and sophisticated method was applied by the enemy,” Shamkhani said without elaborating.
This time, without elaborating, the enemy applied a totally different, skilled and sophisticated method,” Shamkhani said.
Fakhrizadeh, who had no public profile in Iran but was identified as a prime player by Israel in what it says is Iran’s search for nuclear weapons, was killed on Friday when he was ambushed and his car sprayed with bullets on a highway near Tehran.
Iran’s burial of Fakhrizadeh started on Monday in a cemetery in northern Tehran, state TV announced, as the defence minister vowed the Islamic Republic would retaliate for his murder.
The clerical and military rulers of Iran have blamed the long-standing adversary of Iran, Israel, for the killing of Fakhrizadeh, raising the threat of a new war with the West and Israel during the remaining weeks of the presidency of Donald Trump.
Iran’s authorities, however are mindful of the overwhelming military and diplomatic hardships of targeting Israel. Such an assault will also complicate any move by the elected President of the United States, Joe Biden, to restore Tehran’s detente after taking office on January 20.
Since 2018, when Trump scrapped Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with six powers and reimposed sanctions that have devastated Iran’s economy, tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen.
In response, Tehran has steadily defied the curbs of the agreement on its nuclear programme. If Iran resumes enforcement, Biden has said he will return the US to the contract.
Tehran has always denied that nuclear weapons should be pursued.
A funeral service for Fakhrizadeh was held today in Tehran, with the defence minister of the Islamic Republic vowing “with more speed and more power” to continue the work of the scientist.
The service took place in an outdoor portion of the Iranian Ministry of Defense in Tehran, with officials including Gen Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guard, Gen Esmail Ghaani, commander of the Guard Quds Army, Ali Akbar Sahei, chief of the civilian nuclear programme, and Mamoud Alavi, minister of intelligence. As reciters melodically read parts of the Holy Quran and religious scriptures, they sat apart from each other and wore masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After kissing Fakhrizadeh’s casket and pressing his forehead against it, Defense Minister Gen Amir Hatami delivered an address. He said the killing of Fakhrizadeh would render Iranians “more united, more determined.”
We will proceed with more pace and more strength to continue your course,” Hatami said in comments aired live on state television.
Hatami also denounced countries who had not denounced the killing of Fakhrizadeh, warning: “Someday this will catch up with you.”
Read Also: Petrol and diesel prices likely to rise
“Overnight, a statement condemning “the heinous assassination” was issued by the United Arab Emirates, which had just reached a normalisation agreement with Israel. The UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, warned it could further intensify tension in the country.
The UAE found itself in the centre of an escalating sequence of Iran-US events last year. Even though Iran’s nuclear programme has long been suspicious, the Emirates have said they intend to de-escalate the situation. The UAE has just begun passenger air service to Israel, and Israelis are expected to be on holiday in the Hanukkah country in the coming days.