On Monday, a top Iranian security official accused Israel of using 'electronic devices' to remotely destroy a scientist who in the 2000s founded the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program.
Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the country, commented at the Mohsen Fakhrizadeh funeral, where Iran's Secretary of Defense separately vowed to continue the work of the man "with more speed and more power."
Israel, long accused over the last decade of killing Iranian nuclear scientists, has declined to comment on the attack.
Iran's so-called AMAD program was headed by Fakhrizadeh, which Israel and the West claimed was a military project looking at the possibility of developing a nuclear bomb.
According to the International Atomic Energy Organization, the "structured program" concluded in 2003. In a 2007 article, US intelligence agencies agreed with that assessment.
Israel maintains that Iran continues to sustain its nuclear weapons production goals, referring to Tehran's ballistic missile program and research into other technologies. Iran has long maintained the peaceful essence of its nuclear program. Shamkhani's comments dramatically alter the story of Friday's killing of Fakhrizadeh.
Initially, officials said that a truck exploded and then gunmen opened fire on the scientist and killed him.
The English-language Press TV of State TV announced earlier that a weapon recovered from the attack scene bore "the Israeli military industry's logo and specifications."
The Arabic-language channel of State TV, Al-Alam, reported the weapons used were 'satellite-controlled,' a point also made by the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday.
None of the sources gave proof supporting their statements immediately. Shamkhani told state TV, "Unfortunately, the operation was a very complex operation and was carried out using electronic devices." "No individual at the site was present."
Shamkhani, without elaborating, also blamed the Iranian exile party Mujahedeen-e-Khalq for "having a role in this." The MEK did not respond to a request for comment immediately.
Officials including Revolutionary Guard chief General Hossein Salami, Guard Quds Force leader General Esmail Ghaani, civilian nuclear program chief Ali Akbar Sahei, and intelligence minister Mamoud Alavi took part in Monday's Fakhrizadeh service at an outdoor portion of Iran's defense ministry in Tehran. As reciters melodically read parts of the Quran and religious texts, they sat apart from each other and wore masks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After kissing Fakhrizadeh's casket and placing his forehead against it, Defence Minister General Amir Hatami delivered an address. He said the killing of Fakhrizadeh would render Iranians "more united, more determined." "We'll continue with more speed and more power to continue your course," Hatami said.