Iranian state television said on Friday that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a nuclear scientist, had been “assassinated” near Tehran.
State media reported the prominent scientist died in hospital of injuries suffered in the attack.
“Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving him, and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” a statement by Iran’s armed forces carried by state media said.
State TV cited sources confirming the death, but did not provide any further details. The attack allegedly happened in the city of Absard.
Israel declines to comment
Iranian defense minister Javad Zarif tweeted that there was evidence Israel was involved.
“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice — with serious indications of Israeli role — shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he wrote.
“In the last days of the political life of their … ally (US President Donald Trump), the Zionists (Israel) seek to intensify pressure on Iran and create a full-blown war,” top Iranian military commander Hossein Dehghan tweeted.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has said it will not be commenting on reports of the attack. Netanyahu once called out Fakhrizadeh’s name in a news conference, saying “remember that name.”
Leader of nuclear program ‘Hope’
Some reports said he had been shot dead by “terrorists.” Local authorities said some attackers had also been killed.
Fakhrizadeh led a nuclear program called “Amad” or “Hope” that was disbanded in the 2000s. Israel and the West alleged it was a military operation, but Tehran has long said that all its nuclear activities are peaceful.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran “carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” in a “structured program” through the end of 2003. The power has more recently been accused of stockpiling 10 times the amount of uranium agreed in a precarious nuclear deal.
ed,tj/jlw (AP, dpa)