UN Security Council unlikely to act on Iran scientist killing, diplomats say

A woman walks by a billboard honoring nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in the Iranian capital Tehran

A woman walks by a billboard honoring nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in the Iranian capital Tehran

Israel Monday asked its diplomats at missions around the world to be "vigilant" after Iran accused Israel of killing Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, reports Anadolu Agency.

During Fakhrizadeh's funeral on Monday, Defense Minister Amir Hatami vowed that Tehran would not leave the killing unavenged.

The scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died on Friday from his wounds in a hospital, according to Iran's defence ministry, which had in a statement said assailants targeted his auto and engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards outside the capital.

The New York Times said an American official and two other intelligence officials said Israel was behind the attack on Fakhrizadeh.

Iran has suffered several devastating attacks this year, including the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani in a United States drone strike in January, and a mysterious explosion and fire that crippled an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, which is widely believed to have been an act of sabotage.

Saudi Arabia has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, but both sides are furtively building relations on the basis of shared animosity towards Iran.

Iran's President Rouhani has accused Israel of acting as a United States "mercenary", blaming it for the killing of Mr Fakhrizadeh, and supreme leader Khamenei has called for the perpetrators to be punished.

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Parliament on Sunday demanded a halt to global inspections of nuclear sites in the country, a step that could prove a fatal blow to the nuclear deal the Islamic republic agreed with world powers in 2015.

In response to the attack, Iran's parliament began reviewing a bill that would halt inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

While Yadlin emphasized that the harm to Iran's "covert weaponization program [was] huge", he qualified that the damage could not be precisely measured "since nobody knows exactly the scope and depth and what the Iranians are doing".

But unlike Soleimani's funeral, which was attended by thousands, Fakhrizadeh's funeral was not open to the public and held in private to respect social distancing rules because of the coronavirus.

Around a year after the USA withdrew from the nuclear deal, Iran began gradually abandoning most of its key commitments under the agreement.

As part of the procession before the funeral, Fakhrizadeh's remains were taken on Saturday and Sunday to holy Shiite shrines in the northeastern city of Mashhad and Qom in central Iran, as well as the shrine of the founder of the Islamic republic, Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. "That is not possible", said the supreme leader's representative at the defence ministry, Ziaodin Aghajanpour, standing next to Fakhrizadeh's coffin.

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