By: Desk Explained | Kolkata | Updated: December 10, 2020 12:16:02 pm
Caregivers at the Imam Reza holy shrine carry the flag-draped coffin of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist linked to the country’s dissolved military nuclear program, who was killed Friday during a funeral ceremony in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Iran. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)
The Iranian government-backed Mehr news agency reported that a satellite-controlled machine gun was used to assassinate prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last week. Since Fakhrizadeh’s assassination on November 27, several reports have emerged about how he was killed, but the latest is one of the most detailed accounts to emerge.
According to a Reuters report, US intelligence agencies believe Fakhrizadeh spearheaded a coordinated nuclear weapons program in Iran that was halted in 2003, where he oversaw activities “in support of a possible military dimension to (Iran’s) nuclear program.”
Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been the bone of contention between Tehran and Washington DC, although the former insists that the development of the program has no hostile ends.
“Unfortunately, the medical team failed to revive (Fakhrizadeh), and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” Reuters reported Iran’s armed forces said in a statement.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to the killings saying: “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice, with serious indications of the Israeli role, shows the desperate warmongering of the perpetrators ”. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram
Terrorists today assassinated an eminent Iranian scientist. This cowardice, with serious indications of the role of Israel, shows a desperate warmongering of the perpetrators.
Iran calls on the international community, and especially the EU, to end its shameful double standards and condemn this act of state terror.
– Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 27, 2020
What did previous reports suggest?
There have been various reports on how Fakhrizadeh was assassinated. Early reports had suggested that he was killed in the middle of a shootout between his bodyguards. Subsequent reports said that he was shot multiple times by a truck-mounted remote-controlled machine gun that was being operated by an individual who had fled Iran shortly after the killing.
But on Sunday, the Mehr news agency quoted Commodore Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as saying that a satellite-controlled machine gun had been used to kill Fakhrizadeh in Absard, a city located a few kilometers from the east of Tehran. where 13 shots had been fired at the scientist, killing him, aiming him with such precision that his wife sitting inches from him in the car escaped unhurt. The most recent reports say that the killers did not get very close to Fakhrizadeh.
At the time of the murder, Fadavi had said that 11 bodyguards in separate cars were accompanying Fakhrizadeh. Initial news reports had said that during the attack, a bomb in a nearby Nissan pickup had also exploded.
Reuters reported that Hossein Dehghan, military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “In the final days of the political life of his … ally (Trump), the Zionists seek to intensify pressure on Iran and create a war In all rules”. while Zarif also accused Israel of playing a “serious role” in the murder of Fakhrizadeh.
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What was the technology used to kill Fakhrizadeh?
The Mehr news agency said the weapon used to kill Fakhrizadeh remotely “zoomed in” on him “using artificial intelligence”, highlighting him inside his car, leaving his wife unharmed. According to a Forbes report, remotely controlled ground weapons and machine guns are increasingly being used in conflicts throughout the Middle East.
The use of remote weapons in conflict is nothing new, Forbes reports; they first appeared during World War II. The report suggests that insurgents involved in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are known to launch attacks using technology similar to that implemented in the Fakhrizadeh assassination, where a machine gunner is positioned on top of an armored vehicle with an improvised explosive device or a sniper. fire.
“The systems are fully stabilized, so the gunner can keep a machine gun on target even from a vehicle moving over rough terrain,” says the Forbes report. There are several reasons why these systems are being used more widely. “Tactically, they provide a stable and accurate firing platform, and without the stress of receiving shots, remote gunners tend to be more calculating in their shots,” Forbes reported.
Since these systems operate remotely, the likelihood of agents being killed or captured is significantly lower. According to Forbes, these attacks are also untraceable.
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