How Israel killed another Iranian nuclear scientist

Iran says that its top nuclear scientist was killed with a machine gun controlled via satellite and artificial intelligence

John Haltiwanger

Dec 7, 2020, 12:18 PM

A top Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated with a machine gun aimed by artificial intelligence that was controlled via satellite, a senior Iranian commander was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, per Reuters.

Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed with a machine gun with a “satellite-controlled smart system.”

“No terrorists were present on the ground…Martyr Fakhrizadeh was driving when a weapon, using an advanced camera, zoomed in on him,” Fadavi said. “The machine gun was placed on a pick-up truck and was controlled by a satellite.”

“Some 13 shots were fired at martyr Fakhrizadeh with a machine gun controlled by satellite…During the operation artificial intelligence and face recognition were used,” Fadavi added. “His wife, sitting 25 centimetres away from him in the same car, was not injured.”

There have been conflicting reports on Fakhrizadeh’s death, and it’s unclear precisely what transpired.

Fakhrizadeh was widely considered to be the “father” of Iran’s nuclear program and the US and other countries have said he spearheaded a covert military operation to conduct research on a nuclear weapon. But the Iranians have long denied having such ambitions.

Iran has blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s death, though no one has claimed responsibility. Israel has been blamed by Iran for a number of assassinations of scientists in recent years. The Israelis were also suspected of coordinating an act of sabotage on Iran’s main nuclear facility over the summer.

Some experts and former US diplomats have suggested that Israel assassinated Fakhrizadeh with the blessing of the Trump administration in order to derail President-elect Joe Biden’s plans of restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Israel and the Trump administration apparently fear that a Biden administration would seek a quick return to the nuclear agreement, which could revive Iran’s struggling economy and make it harder to contain its influence in the Middle East,” Barbara Slavin, who directs the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said in a recent op-ed for The New York Times. “Killing Mr. Fakhrizadeh makes that all the more difficult.”

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