Iran indicts 14 over killing of its top nuclear scientist blamed on Israel

Suspects charged with corruption, collusion for 2020 attack on Mohsen Fakhrizadeh with remote-controlled machine gun, allegedly by Mossad; no details on detainees’ nationalities

Military personnel stand near the flag-draped coffin of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a scientist who was killed on Friday, during a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, November 30, 2020. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP, File)
Military personnel stand near the flag-draped coffin of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a scientist who was killed on Friday, during a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, November 30, 2020. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP, File)

Fourteen people have been indicted in connection with their alleged roles in the 2020 killing of a top nuclear scientist in an attack Tehran has blamed on Israel, an Iranian state news agency said Monday.

According to the report by the Islamic Republic News Agency, the 14 were charged on a number of counts, including “corruption on earth, contribution to intelligence and espionage for the Zionist regime, collusion aimed at disrupting Iran’s security, and endangering the Islamic country’s security.”

There were no details given on the identity of the 12, including their nationalities.

Iran frequently arrests, jails and executes individuals it accuses of spying for foreign nations, without offering proof.

Iran has blamed Israel for killing its top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, with a remote-controlled machine gun while he was traveling in a car outside Tehran.

Fakhrizadeh, identified by Israel as the father of Iran’s rogue nuclear weapons program, was assassinated in the sophisticated hit reportedly led by a Mossad team.

This photo released by the semi-official Fars News Agency shows the scene where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, Tehran, Iran, November 27, 2020. (Fars News Agency via AP)

Iran has threatened revenge for the killing.

Israel has not publicly commented on the allegation that it was responsible, though former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen confirmed last year that Fakhrizadeh was long in the spy agency’s sights.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war, but tensions have ratcheted up following a string of high-profile incidents Tehran has blamed on Israel.

Israel issued a travel alert on Monday ahead of the Jewish High Holidays, warning that Iran and Islamist terror groups are seeking to carry out terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets.

The National Security Council urged citizens traveling over the holidays to check the individual advisories for countries before they purchase their tickets. The High Holidays is one of the preferred periods for Israelis to schedule trips abroad.

The National Security Council added that terror groups, such as the Islamic State and its supporters, “continue to show motivation” to carry out attacks against Jews and Israelis across the globe.

“This is backed up by frank statements on the part of the heads of organizations that call for harm to Israelis and Jews,” it said.

Travelers seen at the Ben Gurion International Airport on September 7, 2022 (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

Security officials warned of attacks in Europe by existing Iranian assets on the continent.

A senior security official said that several Iranian attempts to attack dissidents had been uncovered recently in Europe, indicating the regime has infrastructure and personnel in place that could be directed against Israelis.

The security official said there were no specific alerts regarding attack attempts, but said, “We need to keep our eyes open,” according to the Kan public broadcaster.

In May, the National Security Council issued a stern warning to Israelis in Turkey to leave the country and for potential travelers to stay away, after receiving intelligence that there was an immediate threat of an Iranian plot to kidnap and murder citizens.

Two Turkish riot police officers walk in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, on June 14, 2022. (Yasin Akgul/AFP)

According to senior Israeli officials, the planned attacks were aimed at avenging a series of killings and strikes on Iranian military and nuclear targets that have been attributed to the Jewish state.

Monday’s reported indictments came as talks over the potential revival of Iran’s nuclear deal seemingly stagnated and as the Islamic Republic was rocked by protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by Tehran’s so-called “morality police.”

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