Iran’s most senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated near the capital Tehran, the country’s defence ministry has confirmed.
Fakhrizadeh died in hospital after being attacked in Damavand county.
Iranian news agencies said assailants targeted his car with a bomb before shooting at him, reports the BBC.
Western intelligence agencies view him as the mastermind behind Iran’s secret nuclear weapons programme.
He was reportedly been described as the “father of the Iranian bomb” by diplomats.
News of the killing comes amid fresh concern about the increased amount of enriched uranium that Iran is producing. Enriched uranium is a vital component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Between 2010 and 2012, four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated and Iran has accused Israel of complicity in the killings.
Fakhrizadeh’s name was specifically mentioned in Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation about Iran’s nuclear programme in May 2018.