US intelligence agencies and United States nuclear inspectors have stated that the organized military nuclear program overseen by Fakhrizadeh was disbanded in 2003, but Israeli suspicions about Tehran’s nuclear program and its involvement have never ceased.
Iranian officials have blamed Israel for Friday’s attack and have sparked the specter of renewed tensions that could engulf the region, including US troops stationed in the Persian Gulf and beyond during President Donald Trump’s remaining weeks in office.
Kayhan published the piece by Iranian analyst Sadollah Zarei, who argued that Iran’s previous responses to alleged Israeli air strikes that killed the Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria did not go far enough to deter Israel. He said an attack on Haifa must also be bigger than Iran’s ballistic missile attack against American forces in Iraq following the U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general in January.
Attacking the Israeli city of Haifa and killing large numbers of people “will definitely be a deterrent, as the United States and the Israeli regime and its agents are by no means willing to take part in a war and military confrontation,” wrote Zarei.
While Kayhan is a small newspaper in Iran, its editor-in-chief Hossein Shariatmadari was appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and has been described as an advisor to him in the past.
Haifa on the Mediterranean has been threatened by both Iran and one of its deputies, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Such a strike would likely result in immediate Israeli retribution and spark a major conflict in the Middle East. While Iran has never directly attacked an Israeli city militarily, in the past it has carried out attacks against Israeli interests abroad for the murder of its scientists. as in the case of the three Iranians who were recently freed in Thailand in exchange for an imprisoned British-Australian academic.
It is widely believed that Israel has its own nuclear weapons, a store that it neither confirms nor denies.
The Iranian parliament held a closed hearing on Sunday about the Fakhrizadeh assassination. Afterwards, Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, said that Iran’s enemies must be made to regret killing him.
“The criminal enemy only regrets it with a strong reaction,” he said in a broadcast on Iranian state radio.
In a public session of the lawmakers they sang, “Death to America! Death to Israel! “They also began reviewing a bill to end inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The nuclear watchdog has provided an unprecedented real-time view of Iran’s civilian nuclear program following the country’s 2015 nuclear deal.
The deal broke up after Trump’s unilateral US withdrawal from the deal in 2018. Iran’s civil nuclear program has since continued its experiments and is now enriching a growing uranium supply with a purity of up to 4.5%.
That is still well below the 90% weapons content, although experts warn that Iran now has enough low-enriched uranium to turn at least two atomic bombs into fuel if it wants to pursue them.
State television broadcast images of Fakhrizadeh’s coffin, which was flown to Mashhad, a holy Shiite city in eastern Iran where the sanctuary of Imam Reza is located. The Iranian media said on Sunday that one of the scientist’s bodyguards also died from wounds he suffered in the attack on Friday.
Khamenei has called Fakhrizadeh “the country’s prominent and respected nuclear and defense scientist” and has called for the “ultimate punishment” of those responsible for the murder without elaborating on it.
Fakhrizadeh led the so-called Iranian AMAD program, which Israel and the West claimed was a military operation examining the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the “structured program” ended in 2003. The US intelligence services agreed with this assessment in a 2007 report.
Israel claims Iran still intends to develop a nuclear weapon. It is argued that Iran’s ballistic missile program and other research could help build a bomb if it pursues one – especially as the 2015 nuclear deal expires. Iran has long maintained its nuclear program, is peaceful, and has no plans to build an atomic bomb.
His assassination likely complicates the plans of President-elect Joe Biden, who has said his administration will consider resuming Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. It also increases the risk of open conflict in Trump’s final weeks in office, as any retaliation could spark an American military response, said Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence who now serves as director of the Tel Aviv University Institute for National Security Studies.
“I strongly recommend that officials shut up and not lick anything. You have already spoken too much, ”he said, referring to cryptic remarks the Israeli Prime Minister made to his supporters that he could not discuss everything he did last week.
“Any further evidence that will help the Iranians decide on retaliation against Israel is a mistake,” said Yadlin.