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Iran threatens ‘calculated’ response after blaming US, Israel for killing nuke scientist

Islamic Republic of Iran Army soldiers marching in formation (Reza Dehshiri/WikiCommons)
November 30, 2020

Kamal Kharrazi, head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, warned that “Iran will give a calculated and decisive answer to the criminals who took Martyr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh from the Iranian nation.”

Kharrazi gave his comments in a statement to Reuters following the Friday assassination of Fakhrizadeh, who was Iran’s top nuclear scientist. Iran has blamed the U.S. and Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s death and the Iranian Kayhan newspaper published an op-ed calling on Iran to attack the Israeli port city of Haifa if Israel is indeed linked to the killing.

Fakhrizadeh was targeted with explosives and gunfire while riding in a vehicle in the Tehran province of Iran on Friday. Iran’s semi-official Fars News media outlet reported three or four of the attackers were killed in a clash with Fakhrizadeh’s security team and Iran has since blamed the U.S. and Israel for the attack.

“Once again, the wicked hands of the global arrogance, with the usurper Zionist regime as the mercenary, were stained with the blood of a son of this nation,” Iranian President Hassan Rohani wrote on his website Saturday.

Iran has repeatedly used the term “global arrogance” to refer to the U.S. and “Zionist regime” to refer to Israel, according to Radio Free Europe.

“We will respond to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh in a proper time,” Rouhani also said, according to the Associated Press. “The Iranian nation is smarter than falling into the trap of the Zionists. They are thinking to create chaos.”

The Associated Press also reported that Iranian analyst Sadollah Zarei argued Iran’s responses to previous conflicts with Israel did not go far enough, and this time Iran would need to target facilities and cause heavy human casualties. Zarei called on Iran to target Haifa — Israel’s third-largest city — and said such an Iranian attack should be larger than the January ballistic missile attack on U.S. troop housing in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Zarei wrote an attack on Haifa would “definitely lead to deterrence, because the United States and the Israeli regime and its agents are by no means ready to take part in a war and a military confrontation.”

The Times of Israel reported Israeli officials are also concerned about Iranian attacks on Israeli visiting the United Arab Emirates. Israel has reportedly raised its alertness levels at embassies around the world in the wake of Fakhrizadeh’s killing.

The U.S. Navy announced it was sending the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) back to the Persian Gulf on Friday, the same day Fakhrizadeh was killed. U.S. officials said the carrier’s movement was not linked to a specific security threat, but the carrier’s arrival coincides with the raised Iranian tensions after Fakhrizadeh’s killing.