If Israel wanted to kill a senior Iranian official, an act that had the potential to start a war, it needed US assent and protection. It meant acting before Mr Biden could take office. In Mr. Netanyahu’s best case, the assassination would derail any chance of resurrecting the nuclear deal even if Mr. Biden wins.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh grew up in a conservative family in the holy city of Qom, the theological heart of Shia Islam. He was 18 when the Islamic revolution overthrew the Iranian monarchy, a historic record that ignited his imagination.
He set out to fulfill two dreams: to become a nuclear scientist and to be part of the military wing of the new government. As a symbol of his dedication to the revolution, he wore a silver ring with a large oval red agate, the same type worn by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and General Suleimani.
He joined the Guardians of the Revolution and rose through the ranks to the rank of general. He got a doctorate. in nuclear physics from Isfahan University of Technology with a thesis on “neutron identification”, according to Ali Akbar Salehi, former director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency and longtime friend and colleague.
He led the missile development program for the Guards and pioneered the country’s nuclear program. As a research director for the Defense Ministry, he played a key role in the development of local drones and, according to two Iranian officials, traveled to North Korea to join forces in missile development. At the time of his death, he was Deputy Minister of Defense.
“In the field of nuclear and nanotechnology and biochemical warfare, Mr. Fakhrizadeh was a figure on par with Qassim Suleimani but in a completely secret manner,” said Gheish Ghoreishi, who advised the Iranian foreign ministry on affairs. Arabs, in an interview.
When Iran needed sensitive equipment or technology banned by international sanctions, Mr. Fakhrizadeh found ways to get it.