Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday Tehran would retaliate over the killing of the country’s top nuclear scientist, who the West claimed was heading up a secret nuclear weapons program for Iran.
“Two important issues should be seriously put on the agenda by all those involved, first, the pursuit of this crime and the definitive punishment of its perpetrators and commanders, and second, the pursuit of the martyr’s (Fakhrizadeh) scientific and technical efforts in all the areas in which he was involved.
Khamenei who has said Tehran never sought nuclear arms and pledged in his statement to continue the work of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who died on Friday after gunmen ambushed him in his car near Tehran.
Reuters reported that the killing, which Iran’s president was swift to blame on Israel, threatens to spark a new Middle East confrontation in the final weeks of US President Donald Trump’s term.
It could also complicate any efforts by #President-elect Joe Biden to revive a detente with Tehran that was forged when he was in Barack Obama’s administration. Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 international nuclear pact agreed with Tehran.
Israel’s N12 news channel meanwhile said Israeli embassies around the world had been put on high alert after the Iranian threats of retaliation.
Iranian #President_Hassan_Rouhani told a televised cabinet meeting that Iran would respond “at the proper time.”
“Once again, the evil hands of Global Arrogance and the Zionist mercenaries were stained with the blood of an Iranian son,” he said, using terms officials employ to refer to Israel.
Israel has declined to comment on the killing. The White House, Pentagon, US State Department and CIA also declined to comment, as did Biden’s transition team, Reuters reported.