A file photo of martyred Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned that "a severe revenge and punishment" has been put on Iranís agenda in response to the assassination of a high-profile nuclear scientist with the Defense Ministry.
Major General Hossein Salami made the remarks in a message released on Friday after the targeted killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the Iranian Defense Ministryís Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its acronym as SPND), in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.
Salami hailed Fakhrizadeh as a leading scientist in the countryís strategic industries and a prominent professor at Imam Hussein University of Tehran, and strongly condemned his assassination in a "terrorist crime designed and directed by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime."
"Undoubtedly, the valuable efforts and endeavors of this honorable martyr in the field of the defense industry and other strategic areas of the country, as well as the field of countering the coronavirus will remain in the historical memory of this land" while inspiring students at universities and IRGCís scientific and technology centers to make achievements in the future.
"The blind-hearted enemies of the Iranian nation, especially those who designed, perpetrated and supported this crime, should know that such crimes will not undermine the Iraniansí will and determination to continue this glorious and powerful path, and that a severe revenge and punishment is put on the agenda."
‘Israel main perpetrator of crimeí
In an opinion piece published on Saturday, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of the Tehran-based Kayhan newspaper, wrote, "It is unfortunate that the Zionists come to the imagination - certainly delusional - or pretend that ‘Iran will not respond."
"There is plenty of evidence showing Israelís role in the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, so the Zionist regime can be boldly and explicitly considered the main perpetrator of this crime. Therefore, there should be no hesitation in taking revenge from the criminal Zionists," he added.
Last week, Israelís Channel 13 TV reported that Tel Aviv and Washington are planning to increase pressure on Iran with "covert operations" and economic sanctions during US President Donald Trumpís final weeks in office.
Their assessment, the report said, is that Tehran will not respond militarily before the end of Trumpís term.
The report came days after the New York Times cited four current and former American officials as saying that Trump had convened top advisers to ask if he had options to strike Iranian nuclear facilities during his last weeks in office, but was dissuaded with warnings it could lead to a wider conflict.
According to the Channel 13 report, the Israel Army and Mossad are preparing for US President-elect Joe Bidenís expected return to negotiations with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned in 2018. Biden has vowed to return the US to the agreement after taking office.
Assassination exposed enemiesí hostility: Analyst
Also on Saturday, Mehrdad Torabi, international relations expert at the University of Bologna, said in an article that Fakhrizadehís assassination "once again exposed the antagonism and hostility of enemies of the great Iranian nation."
"It is evident; terrorism has targeted the scientific progress of the Islamic world in general and the Islamic Republic in particular. The first and foremost reason for this hostility is my and your growth; is our development and self-sufficiency; is the strength, at this very moment, of our fists as we shout out loud what is just and inflict upon them the truth. A military response, however, wonít suffice to bring about justice. It cannot alone end in success, for world history is the world court, in which nothing succeeds like success," the article read.
"An act of decisive revenge is my and your determination towards what our foes are most afraid of, knowledge and progress. The United States, Zionist apologists, and all other blood-soaked imperial powers of our epoch should have to suffer seeing this nation at the peaks of progress and development-and that includes our missile systems and nuclear technologies as well. That only signifies our strategic patience, and that only must be our most decisive response in this current state of affairs."