(ZEROHEDGE) – Iran accused Israel and the U.S. of organizing the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists on Friday and vowed revenge, sharply escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the head of research and innovation at Iran’s Ministry of Defense, and was also viewed internationall as the head of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He was killed close to the Damavand campus of Islamic Azad University, about 60 kilometers east of central Tehran, Iran’s Tasnim news reported.
“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice – with serious indications of Israeli role – shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet. Iran’s army also accused the U.S. of bearing responsibility. Curiously, Trump retweeted a New York Times report on Fakhrizadeh’s killing without commenting.
Zarif urged the international community to condemn the attack, while the head of Iran’s armed forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, called for the assassination to be avenged. Four other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed since 2010, with Tehran blaming the intelligence agencies of its arch foes, Israel and the U.S.