Prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh assassinated

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An Iranian scientist long suspected by the West of masterminding a secret nuclear bomb programme was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday that could provoke confrontation between Iran and its foes in the last weeks of Donald Trump's presidency.

During a presentation in 2018, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Mr Fakhrizadeh was the leader of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, SPND, that continued the work of the Amad project.

Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, was martyred in a terrorist attack on Friday.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top nuclear scientist in Iran has been murdered, state media reported. He died at a local hospital after doctors and parademics couldn't revive him. The attack allegedly happened in the city of Absard.

The Associated Press says no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there were "serious indications of an Israeli role" in his assassination.

"Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh", Mr Netanyahu said at the time, displaying a rare photo of him on a slide.

Fakhrizadeh was a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer and was also a professor of physics at the Imam Hussein University in Tehran.

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This article will be updated.

The killing comes at an extremely sensitive time in Iran as Donald Trump's defeat in the November 3 us election offers an opportunity to reset ties with the West after years of spiraling tensions.

The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency earlier this month confirmed reports that Iran has begun operating centrifuges installed underground at its Natanz facility.

State TV Friday cited sources confirming the death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader and a presidential candidate in Iran's 2021 election, issued a warning on Twitter.

In January, prominent Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, were among seven killed in a drone strike in Baghdad.

The scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was "seriously wounded" when assailants targeted his vehicle before being engaged in a gunfight with his security team, Iran's defence ministry said in a statement. Iran has long denied seeking to weaponise nuclear energy.

Iran also "conducted computer modeling of a nuclear explosive device" before 2005 and between 2005 and 2009, the IAEA has said. Its inspectors now monitor Iranian nuclear sites. Israel and other Western countries have accused the program of developing nuclear weapons while Iran has maintained the program was for peaceful purposes. "Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh".

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