Iranians took to streets on Saturday to protest the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the country's high-ranking nuclear physicist. Protesters burned photos of President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden in the north-eastern city of Mashhad.
In capital Tehran, protesters burned the U.S. and Israel's flags demanding justice for Fakhrizadeh. They were identified as the members of the Basij, the paramilitary unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Protesters held placards that reportedly read "silence is permission for more assassinations" and "Mr. President, they killed your minister's adviser. Stop negotiation."
On Friday night, people protested outside President Hassan Rouhani's residence in Tehran and chanted "war with America." "No to submission, no to concession with America, only war with America!" protesters shouted after Fakhrizadeh's assassination.
Elsewhere in Iran, protests were reported in Mashhad and Qom where people burned photos of Biden and Trump. They warned against talks with Biden following the top physicist's killing.
Who Was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh?
Fakhrizadeh was a senior official in Iran's nuclear program and was credited with making the country's first Covid-19 test kit. He was assassinated in the city of Absard in Damavand County after a truck loaded with explosives detonated near his car.
According to local reports, attackers cropped up from a nearby vehicle and fired shots at his car. The attack also left three of Fakhrizadeh's guards dead. Rouhani held Israel responsible for the attack.
"Once again, the evil hands of global arrogance were stained with the blood of the mercenary usurper Zionist regime," Rouhani said. "The assassination of martyr Fakhrizadeh shows our enemies' despair and the depth of their hatred. His martyrdom will not slow down our achievements."
Israel's cabinet minister for Settlement Affairs Tzachi Hanegbi said reacted to Fakhrizadeh's killing saying he had "no clue" about the perpetrator of the attack. "I have no clue who did it. It's not that my lips are sealed because I'm being responsible, I really have no clue," Hanegbi said.
Meanwhile, the European Union called the assassination a "criminal act" and said it countered "the principle of respect for human rights the EU stands for."
"In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever for all parties to remain calm and exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid escalation which cannot be in anyone's interest," EU's spokesperson said.
Fakhrizadeh's killing was widely compared with the killing of Qasem Soleimani, Iran's major general and commander of the Quds Force in Baghdad in January. The attack was ordered by Trump who said that the general's killing saved a lot of lives. Soleimani's assassination aggravated tensions between the U.S. and Iran.