Jihad Watch : The head of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was
assassinated in Iran, almost certainly by members of the Mossad, on
November 27. The Iranians have threatened to come down “like lightning”
on the perpetrators. A report on the killing, and Iranian threats of
revenge, is here: “Iran vows to avenge nuclear mastermind assassinated
near Tehran,” b Dean Shmuel Elmas and Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom, November 27, 2020:
According to Iranian media reports, Fakhrizadeh,
59, was accompanied by his bodyguard when they were ambushed on a
highway. The assailants reportedly used explosives to force his car to
stop, then shot him. He died in a nearby hospital shortly thereafter.
The bodyguard was wounded in the attack but no details were given on his
The nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated today
[Friday] by terrorists,” the Iranian Defense Ministry said in a
statement. “Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving
him and … this scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom.”
Hossein Dehgan, the military adviser to Iranian Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Israel for the assassination of
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and vowed to retaliate for the killing.
“In the last days of their gambling ally’s political life
[the Trump administration], the Zionists seek to intensify and increase
pressure on Iran to wage a full-blown war,” Dehghan wrote, appearing to
refer to Trump’s last days in office. “We will descend like lightning on
the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their
Iran will “descend like lightning” on Fakhrizadeh’s killers? Not
likely. Rather, the response, if there is one, is going to be like what
happened after the Americans killed Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds
Force from 1998 to 2020, at the Baghdad Airport this past January. Iran
made threats about a terrific retaliation that would be forthcoming.
President Rouhani mentioned in a speech that “The Americans cut off the
hand of our dear Soleimani,” and as revenge they, the Iranians, would
cut off the legs of the Americans and toss them out of neighboring
The result, however, was far from being what Rouhani had threatened.
The Iranians shot a few missiles at two Iraqi airbases at Ain al-Asad
and Erbil, which the Americans were known to use; no Americans were
killed as a result of the strikes, and there was very little damage to
the sites. And that was the end of it: no cutting off the legs of the
Americans, no vast retaliation for the death of Qassem Soleimani.
On August 7, the #2 leader of Al-Qaeda, Abu Abdullah al-Masri, who
had been living, and plotting, in Iran, was assassinated by what
everyone believes were agents of Mossad. The Israelis were said to have
been asked by the Americans to carry out the killing. The Iranians again
promised a harsh revenge, as they had after the killing of Soleimani,
this time against not America but Israel. Yet no such attacks by Iran on
Israel were forthcoming. Iran no doubt realized that any attack would
be met with a crushing response by Israel, and it was not prepared to
take that risk.
After the killing of Iran’s nuclear mastermind, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, on November 27, Iran pointed again at Israel:
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif alleged the
killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh bore “serious indications” of an Israeli
role, but did not elaborate.
Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This
cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate
warmongering of perpetrators….
Iranian Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces Maj. Gen.
Mohammad Bagheri said his country will “exact a devastating revenge”
over the incident, Channel 12 News reported.
The New York Times claimed that three officials had confirmed
that Israel – long suspected of killing several Iranian nuclear
scientists a decade ago – was behind Fakhrizadeh’s elimination as well….
Everyone knows that Mossad in the past has assassinated four of
Iran’s top nuclear scientists, as well as unnamed others involved in
some aspect of the country’s nuclear program.
Certainly Iran does not want to give President Trump any excuse to
attack Iran’s underground nuclear facilities at Natanz. A response by
Iran to the Fakhrizadeh assassination, targeting Israel, would likely
lead to a massive response by Israel and possibly an attack by the Trump
administration on Iran’s nuclear facilities, including those
underground at Natanz that can be reached only by American bunker
bombers. For now, it makes more sense for Iran to wait out the end of
the Trump administration, on the assumption that Biden is so eager to
return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that his administration will
not attack Iran itself, and will try to persuade Israel to mitigate its
response to any Iranian attack launched as revenge for Fakhrizadeh’s
killing — that Iran might unleash after January 20, 2021, when Trump is
He [Amos Yadlin] further advised Israeli officials to
remain mum on the issue. “When Iran is roused but faces [a retaliation]
dilemma and the Pentagon opts to keep quiet, Israeli officials should
remember – silence is golden,” Yadlin said.
Fakhrizadeh has been described by Western and Israeli
intelligence services as the leader of Iran’s nuclear weapons program,
which was halted in 2003 – the same program Israel and the United States
have accused Iran of trying to restore in secret….
While Iran had always described Fakhrizadeh as a university
physics professor, he was a member of the Revolutionary Guards and had
been seen in pictures in meetings attended by Khamenei – a sign of his
Fakhrizadeh had been sanctioned by the UN Security Council
and the US for his work on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, known as
In recent years, US sanctions lists name him as heading
Iran’s Organization for Defensive Innovation and Research. The State
Department described that organization last year as working on “dual-use
research and development activities, of which aspects are potentially
useful for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery systems.”
Clearly Fakhrizadeh was continuing work on Iran’s nuclear program,
right up until his killing on November 27. He did not stop work in 2003
on AMAD, the nuclear-weapons program that Iran had claimed it had ended
in that year. Iran continued to work on its nuclear program right
through until his death, both during the period of the nuclear deal,
when it supposedly had stopped such work, and since 2018, when the U.S.
pulled out of that deal. Iran continued to insist that its nuclear
program had always been entirely for peaceful purposes. The Israelis
offered mountains of evidence that showed otherwise, from the more than
100,000 documents – Iran’s entire nuclear archive – that their agents
managed to locate and smuggle out of Iran in 2018.
Wishing to win over the Biden Administration, it is possible that
Iran will after January 20 announce that while it has all the evidence
it needs to prove that Israel was behind the killing of Mohsen
Fakhrizadeh, and would be well justified in retaliating for the “murder
of our esteemed Professor Fakhrizadeh,” Iran instead “has chosen not to
do so as a sign of our moderation and desire to fashion a durable peace
with the new administration in Washington.” Iran may well be given
credit by the Biden administration for this “peace overture,” given some
of those who are now back in the saddle in Washington, including former
Secretary of State John Kerry, our Cabinet-level climate czar, who has
his personal ties – they got along swimmingly – to Iran’s Foreign
Minister Javad Zarif, the man who snookered John Forbes Kerry over the