An Iranian senior commander was quoted as saying that a satellite-controlled machine gun and artificial intelligence were used to kill the country’s top nuclear scientist.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, saying on Sunday that scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was hit with “some 13 shots” in an attack that resulted in his death, Reuters reported.
Iranian state media initially reported that Fakhrizadeh, who American and Israeli intelligence have said previously led the country’s military nuclear program, was shot and killed late last month by “armed terrorist elements.”
But in a ceremony Sunday, Fadavi said “no terrorists were present on the ground” at the time of the attack.
“Martyr Fakhrizadeh was driving when a weapon, using an advanced camera, zoomed in on him,” Fadavi said, according to Reuters.
“Some 13 shots were fired at martyr Fakhrizadeh with a machine gun controlled by satellite. … During the operation artificial intelligence and face recognition were used,” he said. “His wife, sitting 25 centimeters away from him in the same car, was not injured.”
“The machine gun was placed on a pick-up truck and was controlled by a satellite,” he added.
Iranian officials have provided conflicting information regarding Fakhrizadeh’s death, with the country saying on Sunday it found “clues about the assassins.” Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani announced last week the assassination was completed with “electronic devices.”
Iran has pointed the finger at Israel for conducting the attack, although Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied participation. Israel is widely recognized to have led assassinations of Iranian scientists including some of Fakhrizadeh’s deputies a decade earlier.
Yoav Galant, an Israeli security cabinet minister, said he was “not aware” if the technology described by Fadavi on Sunday existed, Reuters noted.
“It would appear that those who were responsible for his security are now coming up with reasons for not having fulfilled that mission,” he said.