Iran says “clever satellite-guided machine gun” killed Reuters’ prime nuclear scientist
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Well-known Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is seen in Iran before his death
DUBAI (Reuters) – Last month’s assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist was carried out remotely using artificial intelligence and a machine gun equipped with a “satellite-guided intelligent system,” Tasnim news agency quoted a senior commander as saying.
Iran has blamed Israel for the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was viewed by Western intelligence agencies as the mastermind of an Iranian covert nuclear capability development program. Tehran has long denied such ambitions.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the killing, and one of its officials suggested that the Tasnim report on the tactics used was a face-saving move by Iran.
In the past, however, Israel has recognized that it is conducting covert intelligence operations against its archenemy’s nuclear program.
The Islamic Republic has provided conflicting details about Fakhrizadeh’s death in an ambush on November 27 on his car on a highway near Tehran.
“There were no terrorists on the ground … Martyr Fakhrizadeh drove when a weapon with an advanced camera zoomed in on him,” said Tasnim, a semi-official agency, quoting Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. like to say in a ceremony on Sunday.
“The machine gun was placed on a van and controlled from a satellite.”
Fadavi spoke after the Iranian authorities said they had “found evidence of the bombers”, although they have not yet had to announce any arrests. Shortly after Fakhrizadeh’s death, witnesses reported on state television that a truck exploded before a group of armed men opened fire on his car.
Last week, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the murder was carried out using “electronic devices” with no people on site.
Experts and officials told Reuters last week that Fakhrizadeh had closed exposed security vulnerabilities suggesting its security forces may have been infiltrated and that the Islamic Republic was vulnerable to further attacks.
“A satellite-guided machine gun fired 13 shots at the martyr Fakhrizadeh … Artificial intelligence and facial recognition were used during the operation,” said Fadavi. “His wife, who was sitting in the same car 25 centimeters from him, was not injured.”
Yoav Galant, an Israeli security cabinet minister, said he was “unaware” of the existence of the remote targeting technologies described in the Iranian accounts.
“What I see is a huge embarrassment on the Iranian side,” Galant, a former naval command and deputy chief of the Israeli military, told Army Radio. “It appears that those responsible for his (Fakhrizadeh’s) safety are now finding reasons for not completing this mission.”
Fakhrizadeh, identified by Israel as a key player in Iran’s continued search for a nuclear weapon, was the fifth Iranian nuclear scientist to be killed in targeted attacks in Iran since 2010 and the second to kill a senior Iranian official 2020.
The commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite quds force, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone attack in Iraq in January. Tehran retaliated by firing missiles at US military targets in Iraq.