A senior Iranian security official offers a drastically different account of the high-profile assassination.
Tehran, Iran – Iran has laid to rest assassinated nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in the capital Tehran as authorities blamed Israel for the killing and repeated vows to avenge it.
The funeral on Monday, scaled down due to coronavirus protocols and attended only by Fakhrizadeh’s family and some military commanders, was held at the defence ministry headquarters in Tehran.
Fakhrizadeh’s coffin, wrapped in an Iranian flag, was then taken to a cemetery near Imamzadeh Saleh mosque in the north of the city for burial.
His body had been taken to the northeastern holy city of Mashhad late on Saturday where he was taken to the shrine of Imam Reza for a ceremonial circling of the tomb and prayers.
Following that, it was taken to Fatima Masumeh’s shrine in Qom on Sunday, and later to the shrine of Imam Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, in Tehran.
‘Not terror will go unanswered’
Fakhrizadeh, a top figure in Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, was killed outside Tehran on Friday after assailants targeted his car.
Meanwhile, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, accused Israel of using “electronic devices” to kill the scientist remotely.
“The enemies know and I, as a soldier, tell them that no crime, no terror and no stupid act will go unanswered by the Iranian people,” said Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in a televised speech at the ceremony.
Hatami said the country and its people are honoured that Fakhrizadeh was “the founder of Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme” and will continue to follow his path.
“The criminal Americans have thousands of nuclear weapons and the criminal Zionist regime has hundreds of nuclear weapons. What are they for? Are they to be used as decorations in your homes?”
A representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at the defence ministry read out his statement, in which Khamenei repeated his call for a “definitive punishment” of those behind the assassination.
Reading Khamenei’s statement, Ziaeddin Aghajanpour said some inside the country believe dialogue and negotiations are the way to counter foreign aggressions.
“But this is not possible because our enemies are against the very nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said, adding Iran’s “enemies will never stop”.