Iran accuses Israel of acting as US mercenary, seeking ‘chaos’ over assassination of top scientist

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday accused arch-foe Israel of acting as a “mercenary” for the United States and seeking to create chaos, vowing Tehran would avenge the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist.
The Islamic republic’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for the perpetrators to be punished, while Rouhani stressed the country would seek its revenge in “due time” and not be rushed into a “trap”.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, dubbed by Israel as the “father of Iran’s nuclear programme”, died on Friday after being seriously wounded when assailants targeted his car and engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards outside Tehran, according to Iran’s defence ministry.
The assassination comes less than two months before US President-elect Joe Biden is due to take office, after a tumultuous four years of hawkish US foreign policy in the Middle East under President Donald Trump. “They are thinking of creating chaos, but they should know that we have read their hands and they will not succeed,” Rouhani said.
He pinned the blame for the killing on “the wicked hands of the global arrogance, with the usurper Zionist regime as the mercenary”. Iran generally uses the term “global arrogance” to refer to the United States.
Students vented their anger on Saturday by calling for revenge and burning US and Israeli flags outside Iran’s foreign ministry in Tehran, as well as pictures of Trump and Biden.
Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from a multilateral nuclear deal with the Islamic republic, which sought to contain its atomic ambitions, and has re-imposed crippling sanctions. But Biden has signalled his administration may be prepared to rejoin the accord. “This barbaric assassination shows that our enemies are in stressful weeks, during which they feel… their pressure declining, the global situation changing. The nation of Iran is smarter than to fall in the trap of the conspiracy set by the Zionists,” the Iranian president added.

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