“Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving him, and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” the statement said.
Fakhrizadeh was attacked during an armed clash between his bodyguards and unknown assailants in Absard city, Tehran province, Mehr News reported. The attack involved at least one explosion and a shootout, it added.
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The scientist was rushed to hospital by helicopter after the attack, but died from his injuries.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran first denied the claims, with spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi saying that all nuclear scientists were “safe.”
Fakhrizadeh and his bodyguard were reportedly targeted by a “suicide” attacker at the entrance of Absard town.
The scientist was struck by gunfire after his car was stopped by an explosion at Mostafa Khomeini Boulevard, according to IFP news agency. Several other people were also reportedly killed in the incident, it added, but that has not been officially confirmed.
Images released to the press showed the exploded wreckage of one vehicle and a second bullet-marked car, in which the scientist was traveling.
“This Friday afternoon, armed terrorist elements attacked a car carrying Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the Ministry of Defense’s Research and Innovation Organization,” the Iranian military said.
Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at the Imam Hussein University, was also alleged to be the head of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has not commented on the attack specifically, but vowed in a statement on Friday to avenge the deaths of nuclear scientists.
No one has claimed responsibility for the assassination. However, in a tweet, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said “terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today,” and accused Israel of playing some part in the killing.