A Member Of Armed Forces Involved In Assassination Of Nuclear Official: Iran's Intelligence Minister
The person who launched the assassination plan of Iran’s top nuclear scientist killed in November was “from the military”, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Iranian state TV Monday evening.
Alavi appeared to be defending his ministry against the accusation of failing to prevent Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s assassination while he was driving his car on a road in the eastern suburbs of the capital Tehran.
Iran has multiple intelligence agencies, but the Intelligence Ministry is part of the presidential administration, while the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have their own Intelligence Organization, which is responsible for the security of military personnel and facilities. Fakhrizadeh was working for the military and was part of the IRGC.
Intelligence Minister Alavi said in a state-TV interview that the Ministry of Intelligence had warned about the "enemy gathering intel in some areas" two months before the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, and five days before the assassination the ministry warned that the enemy plans to “assassinate Fakhrizadeh in that location [Absard in Damavand].”
Alavi emphasized that Fakhrizadeh was a member of the armed forces, and the person who made the initial preparations for his assassination was also a member of the armed forces.
“Since the Ministry of Intelligence is not allowed to enter the jurisdiction of the armed forces, we asked the armed forces to introduce a liaison so we can assess the potential assassination of Fakhrizadeh, but before any liaison was introduced, he was killed,” Alavi said.
Fakhrizadeh, a senior member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s highest nuclear authority was assassinated on November 26, 2020, in Absard area in Damavand county. Government and IRGC officials offered different and sometimes contradicting accounts of the assassination, ranging from a “12-men operation” to “automatic weapons with no human agent involved” and even “online attack controlled by satellite”.
A number of Islamic Republic military officials and some in the media have suggested “security holes, weakness, and infiltration” of the intelligence and security organizations with regards to the assassination of Fakhrizadeh.
The official website of the leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei published a note pointing out the meetings between Khamenei and Fakhrizadeh, and highlighted the fact that due to some reports about Fakhrizadeh’s negligence in following security protocols, Khamenei had warned Fakhrizadeh about his protection.
Fakhrizadeh's son also talked about the “ambiguities” in his father’s case and said the issue is “much more complicated than a simple assassination with a few bullets”. He did not offer more details.
The Minister of Intelligence has not offered any further information, including the identity of the “military person” responsible for the assassination or his military branch.