U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged restraint after an Iranian nuclear scientist long suspected by the West of masterminding a secret atomic weapons program was assassinated near Tehran. This is reported by Reuters.
“We have noted the reports that an Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated near Tehran today. We urge restraint and the need to avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation of tensions in the region,” Guterres’ spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died after his car was apparently ambushed in a district east of Tehran. Photos from the scene showed the shattered windshield of a car, and blood on the road. Iranian state media said the killing appeared to be an assassination. Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said that Fakhrizadeh was targeted by gunfire and a Nissan vehicle explosion, before a firefight ensued.
Several top-level Iranian officials have condemned the attack and threatened to retaliate. The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hossein Salami, issued a statement calling the killing a "terrorist operation".
"The blinded enemies of Iran, particularly the planners and coordinators of this cowardly act of terrorism must understand that such savagery will not cause a single wrinkle in our collective will to conquer bright scientific horizons, and be aware that the difficult revenge awaiting them is already an integral part of our work!," he said.
According to Reuters, Iran's U.N. envoy, Majid Takht Ravanchi, sent a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council, in which he also indicated signs that Israel was involved in the assassination of the scientist.
“Warning against any adventuristic measures by the United States and Israel against my country, particularly during the remaining period of the current administration of the United States in office, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its rights to take all necessary measures to defend its people and secure its interests,” Ravanchi stated.
An Iranian diplomat and another three citizens of this country are to be judged by the court of Antwerp, Belgium. They are blamed with preparing an explosion at the rally of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in France in 2018.