World Should Thank Us for Killing Iran’s Top Nuclear Scientist, Senior Israeli Official Tells NYT

This photo released by the semi-official Fars News Agency shows the scene where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, Tehran, Iran, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist that Israel alleged led the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program until its disbanding …
Fars News Agency via AP

The world should thank Israel for the assassination of Iran’s nuclear mastermind Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior Israeli official told the New York Times on Sunday.

The official, who according to the report was involved in tracking Fakhrizadeh for years for Israel, told the Times the Jewish state would continue to take any measure to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and Brookings Institution researcher, said the alleged Israeli strike was extraordinary.

“It’s unprecedented,” Riedel said. “And it shows no sign of being effectively countered by the Iranians.”

He added Israel had invested considerable resources into spying on Iran, including using friendly neighboring countries like Azerbaijan for the surveillance and recruitment of operatives and enlisting Iranian immigrants to Israel as well as Iranian collaborators.

He warned further actions are likely to follow, adding “I think it is a signal that the game is afoot, or coming.”

 According to an unnamed Western intelligence source who spoke to Israel’s Channel 12, Fakhrizadeh’s killing was the “pinnacle” of Israel’s long-term plans to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Fakhrizadeh was described as the “father of the Iranian bomb” in a famous 2018 presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin about a raid on a Tehran warehouse in which Mossad operatives spirited half a ton of secret documents on Iran’s nuclear program out the country.

On Sunday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Kan public broadcaster that Fakhrizadeh’s death served the whole world.

“The assassination in Iran, whoever did it, it serves not only Israel, but the whole region and the world,” Steinitz said.

Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near the capital city of Tehran after a bombing and shooting attack between unidentified assailants and his security team.

An opinion piece published by the hardline Iranian Kayhan newspaper on Sunday called for Iran to attack the northern Israeli port city of Haifa as retaliation for the assassination, saying any assault should also incur “heavy human casualties.”

Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli military intelligence and the current head of the Institute for National Security Studies think tank, speculated that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Israel may have been connected to the killing.

“Apparently Pompeo didn’t come here to drink wine at the Psagot winery,” Yadlin quipped, referencing an unprecedented visit by the top American diplomat to an Israeli settlement.

“Whoever made this [assassination] decision knows that there are 55 more days in which the White House has someone who sees the Iranian threat the way they do… Biden is a different story,” Yadlin said.


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