US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump has retweeted a message by an Israeli journalist that praised the assassination of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, raising questions over what role his administration played in the terror attack.
The lame-duck president has yet to publicly comment on the brazen attack, but retweeted a post by Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, who claimed the killing was "a major psychological and professional blow for Iran."
Fakhrizadeh headed the Iranian Defense Ministryís Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND).
Sina Toossi, a senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), characterized Trumpís tweet as an "implicit approval" of the assassination.
Trump also retweeted a New York Times report on the assassination, a multi-pronged ambush attack on Fakhrizadehís vehicle in the city of Absard, just east of Tehran.
As the Times reported, "Mr. Fakhrizadeh had long been the No. 1 target of the Mossad, Israelís intelligence service, which is widely believed to be behind a series of assassinations of scientists a decade ago that included some of Mr. Fakhrizadehís deputies."
The Times cited three American officials as saying that Israel was behind the attack. The officials pointed out that while it was not clear how much the US may have been involved; the two allies have longed shared intelligence regarding Iran.
There have been reports that Trump, who ordered the assassination of Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in January, had recently requested options for a military strike on Iran.
The Israeli regime has also reportedly been preparing for such an attack for weeks.
Fakhrizadehís name was mentioned in a presentation in May 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated erroneous claims about Iranís nuclear program. "Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh," Netanyahu said at the time.
In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were "serious indications" of the Israeli regimeís role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh.
"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice-with serious indications of Israeli role-shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators," the top diplomat said in a tweet.
The assassination was construed by antiwar advocacy groups in the United States as an eleventh-hour attempt by Trump and his hawkish allies to block any possible avenue for diplomacy by the incoming administration.
"If the US was involved with this assassination, it will be further evidence on top of the already heaping pile that Trump, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, and the other war hawks will do everything in their power to prevent the Biden admin from succeeding at diplomacy with Iran," said Win Without War, an anti-war advocacy group.
President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he is ready to bring the US back to the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018.