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Iranian leaders allege 'remote-controlled' assassination of nuclear scientist

By Clyde Hughes & Jean Lotus
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Iranian leaders allege 'remote-controlled' assassination of nuclear scientist
The coffin of slain Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is shown during a funeral procession inside the Iranian Defense Ministry in Tehran Monday. Photo by Iranian Defense Ministry/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Iranian leaders said Monday that Israel used a "remote control" device to assassinate top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in a sophisticated attack.

"Unfortunately, the operation was very complicated and was done using electronic equipment and no [perpetrators] were at the scene," Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Monday at a burial ceremony for Fakhrizdeh.

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Fakhrizdeh, a fixture in the Iranian nuclear hierarchy who led the Iranian Defense Ministry's Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, died in an attack in the Tehran province of Damavand.

Iranian officials said the attack was carried out by a satellite-controlled machine gun hidden in a pickup truck which later exploded. Iran's state-run English language Press TV reported that the weapon collected from the site "bears the logo and specifications of the Israeli military industry."

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Iranian officials have pointed the finger at Israel's Mossad secret intelligence agency, which had long targeted Fakhrizdeh as the keynote scientist of Iran's nuclear program.

Shamkhani also accused the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) -- a ex-pat Iranian "regime change" group -- of helping with the assassination.

Iranian officials have threatened retaliation for the attack and demanded that Israel be sanctioned on the world stage.

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"There is no doubt that the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a calculated and categorical response to those criminals who took Fakhrizadeh from the Iranian nation," Kamal Kharrazi, head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said Sunday.

Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, said there will be "a severe revenge and punishment" for those responsible for Fakhrizdeh's death.

"The blind-hearted enemies of the Iranian nation, especially those who designed, perpetrated and supported this crime, should know that such crimes will not undermine the Iranians' will and determination to continue this glorious and powerful path, and that severe revenge and punishment is put on the agenda," Salami said.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that its enemies have taken action against the country that goes beyond any diplomacy.

"Some say through dialogue and negotiations actions can be taken in order to put an end to such hostility," Khamenei said in a statement read at Fakhrizadeh's. "This is not possible, because our enemies oppose the nature of the Islamic Republic establishment. . . . They will never put an end to their hostilities toward us."

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