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  6.  » How Iranian Nuclear Scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Was Assassinated

Protesters in Tehran burn pictures of Trump and Biden

As Iran puts executed nuclear chief’s body on display, how he was taken out: Power to the entire region was cut as gun and bomb attack blasted convoy before he was dragged from car and finished off… then the 12 assassins melted away

  • Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead in his car by 12 highly-trained assassins in the city of Absard, near Tehran 
  • The killers – which included a pair of snipers – formed 62-person group of plotters, reports have revealed 
  • Detail have been revealed by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze who obtained leaked information

Harriet Alexander and Jemma Carr – Daily Mail.com Nov 29, 2020

Remarkable detail of the elaborate plot to assassinate ‘prominent and distinguished’ Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been leaked – as the rogue nation claim Israel is behind the hit.

Fakhrizadeh – dubbed the ‘father’ of Iran’s bomb programme – was shot dead in his car by 12 highly-trained assassins following an explosion in the city of Absard, 50 miles east of Tehran.

Scene of the attack after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Click to enlarge

The killers – which included a pair of snipers – formed part of a 62-person group of plotters. The remaining 50 people were responsible for logistical support.

Extraordinary detail about Fakhrizadeh’s final moments have been revealed by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze who claims he received leaked information from the country’s authorities.

Fakhrizadeh’s death sent tensions in the regions skyrocketing as Iran has repeatedly blamed Israel’s national intelligence agency Mossad for the the assassination – with several prominent figures vowing revenge.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who has the final say on all matters of state – yesterday said Iran’s first priority after the killing was the ‘definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.’ He did not elaborate.

And, in an intervention that risks inflaming conflict even further, a former head of the US’s Central Intelligence Agency labelled the assassination a ‘criminal’ act and branded it ‘highly reckless’.

John Brennan – who was director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017 under President Barack Obama – said he did not know who was to blame for the murder of Fakhrizadeh but said it ‘risks lethal retaliation and a new round of regional conflict’.

One American official and two other intelligence officials also told the New York Times that Israel was behind the attack.

Click to enlarge

Ahwaze said the attack was planned for a roundabout in Absard, at the foot of a tree-lined boulevard which enters the city.

The team had been watching Fakhrizadeh, and knew that he was going to be driving from Tehran to Absard on Friday.

The mountain retreat of 10,000 people is where many well-off Tehranis have second homes, and Fakhrizadeh, 59, had a villa there.

The 12 assassins – described as being highly-trained and assisted by ‘security and intelligence services abroad’ – were deployed to Absard while the remaining 50 people in the 62-person strong group helped with logistical support. He did not specify whether they were in Iran, or abroad.

A Hyundai Santa Fe with four passengers, four motorcyles and two snipers were waiting for Fakhrizadeh at the scene of the ambush – along with a booby-trapped Nissan pickup.

Half an hour before Fakhrizadeh’s convoy of three bulletproof cars arrived, the electricity was cut off to the area, Ahwaze reported.  The team were in place when the first car passed the roundabout.

As the third car passed, the Nissan exploded, damaging electricity poles and transmitters, according to a state TV report from the area on Friday night.

The force of the explosion from the bomb hurled debris at least 300 meters, state television claimed.

The second car, containing Fakhrizadeh, was then shot at by the 12 assassins, including two snipers.

The gunmen with the hit squad opened fire on the cars, and an intense gunfight ensued, according to Sepah Cybery, a social media channel affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Ahwaze tweeted: ‘According to Iranian leaks, the leader of the assassination team took Fakhrizadeh out of his car and shot him and made sure he was killed.’

The hit squad then vanished, having sustained no losses to their team, Ahwaze reported.

Residents told state television that they heard the sound of a big explosion followed by intense machine gun fire as Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards fought back.

They knew the man they were protecting had for years been Mossad’s number one target.

A police helicopter landed in the area to transport Fakhrizadeh and others to the hospital, according to a video posted by a resident who said ‘several people are dead.’

When members of Fakhrizadeh’s security detail arrived in hospital, they were surprised to find that there was no electricity, after the power had been cut. They are then transported to Tehran.

At 10.28am EST (7.30pm local time) on Friday, the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said that ‘an eminent Iranian scientist’ had been killed, with the suspected aid of Israel.

Fakhrizadeh’s body lay in a flag-draped, open coffin at a mosque on Saturday in central Tehran, where Iran’s chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, prayed over his body in a public spectacle of mourning.

In 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu cited Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, saying “remember that name”. Click to enlarge

His death sent tensions in the region skyrocketing as Iran accused Israel of trying to provoke a war by killing the scientist – who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: ‘Remember that name’.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called Fakhrizadeh ‘the country’s prominent and distinguished nuclear and defensive scientist.’

Khamenei – who has the final say on all matters of state – said Iran’s first priority after the killing was the ‘definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.’ He did not elaborate.

And, in an intervention that risks inflaming conflict even further, a former head of the US’s Central Intelligence Agency labelled the assassination a ‘criminal’ act and branded it ‘highly reckless’.

John Brennan – who was director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017 under the administration of president Barack Obama – said he did not know who was to blame for the murder of Fakhrizadeh but labeled it a ‘criminal’ act.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council on Friday, Iranian envoy, Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote: ‘Warning against any adventuristic measures by the United States and Israel against my country, particularly during the remaining period of the current administration of the United States in office, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its rights to take all necessary measures to defend its people and secure its interests.’

The proxy war between Israel and Iran has predominately remained in the realm of verbal hostility and threats.

Israel is suspicious of Iran’s nuclear capabilities – and seeks to reduce the impact of its allies and proxies.

The country has been accused of using covert ‘wet work’ tactics in its mission against Iran – including assassinations.

Friday’s attack comes just days before the 10-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari.

Tehran blamed that attack on Israel too as it came at the height of Western fears over Iran’s nuclear program.

Hossein Dehghan – who is a presidential candidate in Iran’s 2021 election as well as an adviser to its supreme leader Ali Khamenei – echoed the claim that Israel was behind the attack.

‘In the last days of their gambling ally’s political life, the Zionists seek to intensify and increase pressure on Iran to wage a full-blown war,’ Mr Dehghan wrote, appearing to refer to US President Donald Trump’s last days in office.

It comes amid fears that the Trump administration could order a strike on Iran in the weeks before the president relinquishes power to President-Elect Joe Biden.

Dehghan added: ‘We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions.’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said Israel was to blame for the ambush in a televised speech on Saturday, and said Iran would retaliate for the killing of Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi at ‘the proper time’.

Rouhani said: ‘Our people are wiser than to fall in the trap of the Zionist regime (Israel) … Iran will surely respond to the martyrdom of our scientist at the proper time.’

Rouhani said that Fakhrizadeh’s death would not stop its nuclear program, something Supreme Leader Khamenei said as well.

Tehran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had suggested Israel was behind the attack, in which he said ‘Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist’.

Zarif wrote on Twitter: ‘This cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators.

Former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan called the assassination of Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi ‘criminal’ and ‘reckless’

‘Iran calls on the international community – and especially the EU – to end their shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.’

Israel declined to immediately comment on the killing of Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi.

Donald Trump retweeted the New York Times article claiming one American official and two other intelligence officials confirmed that Israel was behind the attack.

He also retweeted Israeli journalist Yossi Melman who called the killing ‘a major psychological and professional blow for Iran’.

‘Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated in Damavand, east of Tehran according to reports in Iran. He was head of Iran’s secret military program and wanted for many years by Mossad. His death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran,’ Melman had tweeted.

Brennan also took to Twitter, claiming that while he did not know who was to blame for the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, it was ‘a criminal act’.

‘This was a criminal act and highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation and a new round of regional conflict,’ he tweeted.

‘I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh.

‘Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials.’

Brennan noted that Fakhrizadeh was not a designated terrorist nor a member of Al Qaeda or the Islamic State group, designated terror groups which would be legal targets.

A strong critic of President Donald Trump, Brennan urged Tehran to ‘resist the urge’ to retaliate and ‘wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage,’ a reference to November 3 election winner Joe Biden, who will replace Trump on January 20.

Brennan was director of the CIA from 2013 to 2017, under the administration of president Barack Obama and then-vice president Biden.

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