Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Saturday has called on the authorities to prosecute those who assassinated a prominent Iranian scientist and continue the martyr’s scientific and technical efforts.
“All relevant administrators must seriously place two crucial matters on their agendas: First, to investigate this crime and pursue definite retribution against its perpetrators and commanders; second, to continue the martyr’s scientific and technological efforts in all the sectors where he was active,” he was quoted as saying by Leader.ir.
Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a terrorist attack in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province, on Friday.
He was a renowned figure in nuclear and defense fields and headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research.
Ayatollah Khamenei described Fakhrizadeh as an “eminent scientist” who sacrificed his life in the path of God with his remarkable and enduring scientific efforts.
“The lofty status of martyrdom is his divine reward,” he said.
The Leader offered his condolences to his family, the country’s scientific community, as well as his colleagues and students in various sectors.
The assault has been largely blamed on Israel that has a history of conducting the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.
Three US officials have said Israel was behind the assassination, according to a Friday report by the New York Times.
“It was unclear how much the United States may have known about the operation in advance, but the two nations are the closest of allies and have long shared intelligence regarding Iran,” it added.
The newspaper had also recently reported that the outgoing US president, Donald Trump, had asked for options of attacking an Iranian nuclear site but was only dissuaded by his advisors.
Also on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will respond to this “ferocious assassination” in due time.
“The Iranian nation and authorities are braver than letting this criminal act pass without a response and the relevant officials will respond to it at an appropriate time,” he was quoted as saying by President.ir.
He described the assassination as a Zionist plot, saying the countries’ enemies are seeking to trigger chaos and unrest.
“They should know that we have already seen through their scheme and they will not achieve their evil objectives,” he said.
Rouhani also said the country’s research and development will proceed as other scientists take Fakhizadeh’s place.
Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi also said the murder was clearly “a state-sponsored assassination” and “a clear violation of int’l law”.
In a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he highlighted Fakhrizadeh’s role in the development of test kits and a vaccine for Covid-19, essential to national efforts in curbing the pandemic at a time when inhumane US sanctions have strictly prevented Iran’s access to medicines and medical equipment.
He said the “cowardly assassination” was another desperate attempt to wreak havoc in the region and to disrupt Iran’s scientific and technological development.
Takht-Ravanchi warned against any adventurist measures by the US and Israel against Iran, stressing that the Islamic Republic “reserves the rights to take all necessary measures to defend its people and secure its interests”.
Iran expects the UN secretary-general and the security council to strongly condemn this inhumane terrorist act and take measures against its perpetrators, according to the envoy.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also took to Twitter to condemn what he called a “cowardice” with serious indications of Israeli role, which shows the desperate warmongering desire of its perpetrators.
European Union’s Spokesman for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Nabila Massrali issued a statement on Saturday, calling the attack “a criminal act” that runs counter to the principle of respect for human rights the EU stands for.
On behalf of EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, the statement expressed condolences to the family of the individuals who were killed and wished a prompt recovery to those who may have been injured.