Threats and wariness were the watchwords in the Middle East over the weekend in the aftermath of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed Friday near Tehran. Iran has blamed Israel for his death. Israel has made no claim of responsibility.
Israel put its embassies on high alert, according to Reuters, which cited Israeli N12 news.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had no comment on security issues.
Iranian officials seethed with talk of revenge.
“We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” Iran President Hassan Rouhani said, according to The Associated Press. “The Iranian nation is smarter than falling into the trap of the Zionists. They are thinking to create chaos.”
The Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Fakhrizadeh “the country’s prominent and distinguished nuclear and defensive scientist.” Khamenei said Iran will make “definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it” its top priority.
On the streets of Tehran, demonstrators burned the flags of Israel and the U.S. as well as photos of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, according to the New York Post.
Iran’s Kayhan newspaper, which has close ties to Khamenei, according to The Washington Post, published an opinion piece stating Iran should attack the city of Haifa in Israel if it can be proven Israel was responsible for Fakhrizadeh’s death.
The article advocated “heavy human casualties.”
On Sunday, after a session of Iran’s parliament, speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf said revenge must come.
“The criminal enemy does not regret it except with a strong reaction,” he said, The Washington Post reported.
During a legislature’s public session, lawmakers chanted, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”
The United States sent the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier into the region, according to the AP, citing as the rationale the reduction in forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Amos Yadlin, a former leader of Israeli military intelligence who is director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, said Fakhrizadeh ran “all covert activities with weaponization of the program,” The Washington Post reported.
The damage caused by his death “cannot be measured since nobody knows exactly the scope and the depth what the Iranians are doing covertly,” Yadlin told the newspaper. “But no doubt that he was the core source of authority, knowledge and organization of this program.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.