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Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahavadi, was killed on Friday near Tehran, state media has reported.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif implied that Israel is behind the death. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has not responded to CNN's request for comment.
Fakhrizadeh was head of the research center of new technology in the elite Revolutionary Guards. He was considered one of the masterminds of Iran's controversial nuclear program.
The Fars news agency reported that he had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.
The media office of Iran’s Defense Ministry said Fakhrizadeh, who headed the ministry's Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), “was severely wounded in the course of clashes between his security team and terrorists and was transferred to hospital,” where he succumbed to his wounds.
The leading scientist behind Iran’s nuclear weapons program was assassinated as he was ambushed in his car Friday, according to state-run news outlets.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh — who led Iran’s so-called “Amad,” or “Hope” nuclear program — was shot dead by so-called “terrorists” who first blew up another car nearby in Absard city, the Tasnim news agency said.
Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, the scientist alleged to be in charge of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, was reportedly assassinated Friday morning outside of Iran.
In addition to serving as a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi was also a former brigadier general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and held a senior Defense Ministry position at the time of his death.