Iran mulls response as it prepares to bury killed nuclear scientist

Iran mulls response as it prepares to bury killed nuclear scientist

Monday, November 30, 2020

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TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran was weighing its response yesterday to the killing of its top nuclear scientist, which it blames on arch-foe Israel, as his body was taken to Shiite shrines ahead of being buried.

Two days after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died following a firefight between his guards and unidentified gunmen outside Tehran, Parliament called in a statement for international inspectors to be barred from nuclear facilities.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council usually handles decisions related to the country's nuclear programme.

President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the country will seek its revenge in “due time” and not be rushed into a “trap”.

Israel says Fakhrizadeh was the head of an Iranian military nuclear programme, the existence of which the Islamic republic has consistently denied.

His body arrived in the north-eastern holy city of Mashhad late Saturday and was taken to the shrine of Imam Reza for prayers and a ceremonial circling of the tomb, state news agency IRNA reported.

It was taken yesterday to Fatima Masumeh's shrine in Qom, south of Tehran, and later to that of the Islamic republic's founder Imam Khomeini, according to Iranian media.

Fakhrizadeh's funeral will be held today in the presence of senior military commanders and his family, the defence ministry said on its website, without specifying where.

Israel has declined to comment on Fakhrizadeh's killing, less than two months before US President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office, following four years of hawkish foreign policy under President Donald Trump.

Trump withdrew the US from a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018 and then reimposed and beefed up punishing sanctions as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

Biden has signalled his Administration may be prepared to rejoin the accord, but the nuclear scientist's assassination has revived opposition to the deal among Iranian conservatives.


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