Israel on high alert after assassination of senior Iranian nuclear scientist

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s “death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran,” commented Israeli writer Yossi Melman.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel has directed its embassies around the world to remain on high alert following the assassination Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent Iranian nuclear and weapons scientist.

Fakhrizadeh, the mastermind behind Iran’s nuclear program, was shot by assassins on Friday in Tehran. The Islamic Republic is blaming Israel for the shooting and is threatening retaliation.

Fearing possible reprisal attacks, Israeli embassies and Jewish communities have raised the level of security around their facilities.

The IDF is also preparing for the option of an Iranian attack on Israel.

A senior Israeli official is quoted as saying that Fakhrizadeh was one of Israel’s worst enemies, and without him, Iran would not have achieved what it did in the realm of long-range ballistic missiles.

As for his death, the official said that it is hard to see Iran finding anyone with his capabilities to replace him.

Israeli writer Yossi Melman said that Fakhrizadeh was a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University, but also led the clandestine Amad Project that developed nuclear bombs and led its weaponization efforts. He was wanted by the Mossad and escaped an assassination attempt a few years ago.

“His death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran,” Melman wrote.

Amos Yadlin, a former general in the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and former head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, said that Fakhrizadeh led the weapons group in the Iranian nuclear program and preserved its knowledge from 2003 under various organizations and institutions.

He was involved for many years in Iran’s weapons-related nuclear activities. Yadlin added that if there is an active Iranian weapons program, it has suffered a severe blow.

As for possible developments, Yadlin said that in the time left before President Donald Trump leaves office, an act of Iranian revenge would provide grounds for an American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Whether Iran is tempted to retaliate or restrain itself, any act of Iranian revenge would make it difficult for President-elect Joe Biden to return to the nuclear deal, as he has vowed, he explained.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the assassination and ordered officials to “take action to punish the masterminds and perpetrators of the terror attack.”

“Two important issues should be seriously put on the agenda by all relevant officials; first, probing the crime and the definite punishment of those who perpetrated and ordered it; and second, pursuing and continuing the martyr’s scientific and technical efforts in all the sectors in which he was engaged,” he stated.

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami declared that Fakhrizadeh’s assassination will “not undermine Iranians’ resolve,” and that “revenge for the terror attack is already on the country’s agenda.”