Has Israel hindered Iran’s nuclear program with Fakhrizadeh’s assassination?


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EHRAN – “My body was full of shrapnel from the van explosion. Pain was pulsing through my entire body, but all my attention was on Mohsen. I had him in my arms; blood was flowing from his waist, staining the concrete with its glistening crimson. I pleaded for someone, anyone, to come to our aid,” recounted the wife of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, describing the haunting scene of her beloved husband’s assassination.

“Every moment felt like a suspended eternity. The pungent odors of blood, smoke, and gunpowder engulfed the entire vicinity,” she penned in a book written a year after Fakhrizadeh’s tragic demise, lamenting the brevity of the “short 40 years” she shared with her loving spouse.

Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in an attack on a highway outside of the capital Tehran on November 29, 2020. According to Iranian authorities, the scientist fell victim to an attack carried out by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq terror organization, which had facilitated the activation of an electronic equipment for Israel. The equipment, mounted in a van, targeted Fakhrizadeh using artificial intelligence to identify him before detonating, injuring those accompanying the scientist at the time of his brutal murder.

While Fakhrizadeh was well-known among Israeli politicians for his significant contributions to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, he opted to keep a low profile within his own country, dedicating the majority of his time to research and development.

Fakhrizadeh left his hometown, Qom, at the age of 18 to pursue physics at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. “He was drawn to nuclear science since high school. He once confided in me that he knew he would become involved in the nuclear field from the very start of his high school education,” Fakhrizadeh’s son revealed during an interview with Iranian media. His son added that the revered scientist routinely contended with terrorist threats, with the first attempt on his life occurring two decades prior to his tragic death.

Despite Fakhrizadeh’s clear focus on scientific pursuits over political matters, it appeared that Israel paid no heed to his non-military status. In a notable presentation on Iran’s nuclear activity in 2018, the then and current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, labeled Fakhrizadeh as the “mastermind” behind Iran’s nuclear program, urging attendees to “remember that name.”

Two years after Netanyahu’s conference, when Fakhrizadeh was assassinated, Iran swiftly pointed the finger of blame at Israel. A report by the New York Times, citing an unnamed senior Israeli official, seemingly reinforced Israel’s involvement. “The world should thank Israel for the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh,” the official was quoted as saying. According to the report, Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, had employed a remote-controlled “killer robot” to execute the scientist.

Fakhrizadeh was laid to rest in a shrine complex in a Tehran neighborhood, adjacent to another nuclear scientist who fell victim to an Israeli assassination in 2010. At least four other senior scientists have met a similar fate at the hands of the regime since 2010.

What does Iran’s nuclear program look like now?

“My father may not be here, but the knowledge he generated and spread will not go anywhere,” that’s how Fakhrizadeh’s son described the future of Iran’s nuclear program when asked about the implications of his father’s assassination.

The mourning son’s predictions turned out to be on point three years after the scientist’s killing. 

At the time of Fakhrizadeh’s tragic death in November, Iran was engaged in uranium enrichment at 4.5%, a slightly elevated level compared to the limit stipulated in the 2015 nuclear deal. Merely three weeks post the assassination, Iran signaled its intention to scale up the enrichment to a 20% purity level, as communicated to the UN nuclear watchdog.

Subsequently, Tehran has now raised the enrichment level to 60% purity, a response to the Israeli regime’s thwarted sabotage attempt on the Natanz nuclear facility situated in central Iran.

In conjunction with these developments, Iran has initiated the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the Southern Province of Khuzestan. This transpires amidst Iran’s continued status as the most closely monitored country by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

While the assassination of Fakhrizadeh points to a clear objective of hindering Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, Tehran’s extensive cooperation with the IAEA has impeded Israel’s prospects for exerting diplomatic pressure on the country. The assassination was likely an endeavor to disrupt Iran’s peaceful nuclear ambitions, yet the country persistently demonstrates its resilience, much to the regime’s dismay.

Similar to the 2020 assassination of highly venerated General Qassem Soleimani, Israel and the U.S. seem to have carried out yet another failed attempt to drain the Iranian swamp, with the killing of Fakhrizdeh.

 Fakhrizadeh’s killing ego boost for Israel, but not for long


The callous killing of Fakhrizadeh appears to have served as a source of bolstered pride for the Israeli regime, reflecting its claims of possessing a supreme and sophisticated intelligence apparatus. This narrative did strike a chord within Iranian media, with some expressing concerns about the purported “invincible power” of Israel’s intelligence agencies after Fakhrizadeh’s assassination.

However, in less than three years following Fakhrizadeh’s slaughter, the regime faced what many perceive as its biggest security blow in the 75 years of occupation. 
The resistance fighters of Hamas managed to infiltrate the supposedly impenetrable security barriers and execute a successful operation within the occupied territories, all while operating amid the constraints of the world’s largest open-air prison, which is thoroughly surrounded by Israeli forces and military equipment. 

Not only didn’t Israel fail to predict the October 7 attack by Hamas, it took the regime a couple of days to figure out what had actually happened to it.  

While Fakhrizadeh’s killing remains a harrowing experience for his family and the people of Iran, its effect appears to have served merely as a transient propaganda strategy for self-centered Israeli politicians. Iran’s peaceful nuclear program has exhibited no signs of slowing down, and the regime’s once-dubious veneer of invincibility has now been wholly debunked with the aid of the resilient resistance forces.


65 thoughts on “Has Israel hindered Iran’s nuclear program with Fakhrizadeh’s assassination?

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