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Quixplained: Who was Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh? How was he assassinated?

Iran’s government-backed Mehr news agency last week reported that a satellite-controlled machine gun was used to assassinate Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 14, 2020 10:32:37 am
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in a targeted attack in November.

Iran’s senior-most nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near Tehran on November 27. There have been varying reports of how Fakhrizadeh was killed. Early reports had suggested that he was killed in the midst of a gunfight between his bodyguards. Subsequent reports said he was shot multiple times by a remote-controlled machine gun mounted on a truck that was being operated by an individual who had fled Iran shortly after the killing.

Iran’s government-backed Mehr news agency last week reported that a satellite-controlled machine gun was used to assassinate him. At the time of the killing, Fadavi had said 11 bodyguards in separate cars were accompanying Fakhrizadeh. Initial news reports had said that during the attack, a bomb in a Nissan pickup truck nearby had also exploded. The use of remote weapons in conflicts is nothing new Forbes reports; they first surfaced during the Second World War. The report suggests that insurgents involved in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are known to have launched attacks using a technology similar to what was deployed in Fakhrizadeh’s killing, where a machine-gunner is set on top of an armored vehicle with improvised explosive device or sniper fire.

According to a Reuters report, US intelligence agencies believe that Fakhrizadeh headed a coordinated nuclear weapons programme in Iran that was stopped in 2003, where he oversaw activities “in support of a possible military dimension to (Iran’s) nuclear programme”.

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