Tehran – Prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near the capital Tehran on Friday, Iran’s Defense Ministry reported on state television.
“Terrorists Assassinated Prominent Iranian Scientist Today,” Foreign Minister Says Mohammad Javad Zarif later wrote on Twitter.
“This cowardice – with serious indications of the Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering on the part of the perpetrators,” Zarif wrote, referring to Iran, Israel’s sworn enemy. “Iran calls on the international community – and in particular the EU – to end their shameful double weight and to condemn this act of state terror. “
NBC News has not independently confirmed any details regarding Fakhrizadeh’s death.
A spokesperson for the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told NBC News that they were “not commenting” on the news.
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In the West, Fakhrizadeh was commonly referred to as the Iranian Robert Oppenheimer, the American scientist who helped create the atomic bomb in 1945. Fakhrizadeh is a well-known figure and considered among the country’s most important nuclear scientists.
It has long been suspected by the West of orchestrating what they said was a secret atomic bomb program interrupted in 2003. Iran has consistently denied seeking to militarize nuclear energy.
State media reported that Fakhrizadeh died in an attack in the Absard area of Damavand province, about 65 km east of Tehran.
In 2018, Netanyahu gave a presentation in which he exposed what he described as material stolen by Israel from Iranian nuclear archives and showed a photo of Fakhrizadeh.
“This is how Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of Project Amad… Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu said.
Ali Arouzi reported from Tehran, Adela Suliman reported from London.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.