• Iran vows retaliation after top nuclear scientist shot dead near Tehran
• His car was targeted by the assiliants before being engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards
• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once described him as the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme
• An American official and two other intelligence officials confirmed Israel was behind the attack
Iran will retaliate for the killing of its prominent nuclear scientist at “the proper time”, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Saturday, a day after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran.
President Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani accused Israel of the killing.
“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,” he said.
Fakhrizadeh, 59, was “seriously wounded” when assailants targeted his car before being engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards, the defence ministry said.
Fakhrizadeh, who headed the ministry’s research and innovation organisation, was later “martyred” after medics failed to revive him.
The United States slapped sanctions on Fakhrizadeh in 2008 for “activities and transactions that contributed to the development of Iran’s nuclear programme”, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once described him as the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.
Fakhrizadeh was targeted while travelling near Absard city in Tehran province’s eastern Damavand county.
Images from the scene showed a black sedan on the side of the road, its windshield pockmarked with bullet holes. A pool of blood was seen on the asphalt.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there were “serious indications of an Israeli role” in the assassination.
Zarif called on international community to “condemn this act of state terror”.
The New York Times said an American official and two other intelligence officials confirmed Israel was behind the attack, without giving further details.
A spokesman for Netanyahu questioned by AFP in Jerusalem declined to comment on the attack.