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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Iran vows revenge for murder of scientist

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

IRAN has vowed to avenge the death of a leading nuclear scientist who was gunned down when his entourage was ambushed along a provincial highway last week. The Iranians believe the hit was carried out by Israeli agents or gunmen loyal to the People’s Mujahidin Organisation, which is based in the USA.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said: “We’re still waiting to see the full facts of what’s happened in Iran, but I would say that we stick to the rule of international humanitarian law, which is very clear against targeting civilians.” People’s China and Russia also condemned the cowardly killing, and the European Union called it a “criminal act”.

In Moscow the Iranian ambassador told the Russian media that the Islamic Republic knows who is responsible for the killing. “In general, it is not big news that our enemies use terrorism against Iran. Moreover, we know who is behind everything, including some governments,” Kazem Jalali said. “At the moment, all of the direct and indirect evidence we possess suggests that Israel is behind the attack.”

Prof Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the man the Zionist media called the “father of Iran’s nuclear programme”, was killed by what Iran’s defence ministry called “armed terrorists” when his convoy was attacked on the outskirts of Absard, a city some 50 miles east of Tehran.

Although nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, a senior Israeli source has told the New York Times that Israel would continue to act against the Iranian nuclear programme “as needed”, adding that Iran’s ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons pose such a great threat that “the world should thank Israel” for the assassination of Fakhrizadeh.

But Senator Bernie Sanders, the social-democratic challenger beaten by Biden in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination this year, condemned the killing. “The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was reckless, provocative and illegal. As a new administration takes power, it was clearly intended to undermine US–Iran diplomacy. We must not allow that to happen. Diplomacy, not murder, is the best path forward,” he declared.

This was echoed by Mark Fitzpatrick, a former US State Department non-proliferation official, who said: “The reason for assassinating Fakhrizadeh wasn’t to impede Iran’s war potential, it was to impede diplomacy.”

Few believe the Israelis would have acted without the blessing of their masters in Washington and many suspect that the killing was a parting gift from Donald Trump to the Zionist regime, designed to sabotage any rapprochement with Iran by the incoming Biden administration.

The communist Tudeh Party of Iran says the scientist “was assassinated by Israeli agents with the full knowledge and support of the Trump administration” and in Tel Aviv Aida Touma-Sliman, a communist member of the Israeli parliament, bluntly stated that “those who choose assassinations and talk about peace are warmongers”.

“This is the plan of action of outgoing President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Regent Muhammad bin Salman [of Saudi Arabia] in the remaining months until the entry of the new president Biden. This dangerous escalation endangers all the peoples of the region,” she said.

But if this was Trump’s plan it has clearly failed. The Iranians say they will indeed respond but only at “the proper time”, and Joe Biden has again confirmed his intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal that Trump tore up during his term of office.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said: “Our people are wiser than to fall in the trap of the Zionists’ conspiracy. They are thinking of creating chaos and unrest, but they should know that we have already read their hands and that they will not succeed in achieving their evil objectives.”