December 7, 2021

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Top nuclear scientist was killed with a machinegun and AI: Iran

Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead on 27 Nov outside Tehran. Now the Iranian govt backed news agency has reported that the scientist was killed using a machine gun and Artificial Intelligence.
Since the assassination of Mr. Fakhrizadeh, many reports of how he was assassinated has surfaced online.
Initial reports that surfaced online said that he was killed in a gunfight between his bodyguards and several gunmen. This claim was made by the defense ministry on the day of the attack on Mr. Fakhrizadeh.
Other reports said that 3-4 people, possibly terrorists were involved in it. A car planted with a bomb also exploded at the scene.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the assassination of the prominent scientist said, “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators.”

“Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving (Fakhrizadeh), and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” said armed forces in a statement.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was a physics professor and the head of Iran’s Organisation of Defensive Innovation and Research, popularly known as its Persian Acronym SPND. As per the Israeli and Western security sources, the scientist was an eminent part of Iran’s nuclear program. He is believed to be the leading element in the “Project Amad”, a confidential program. “Project Amad” was a covert program carried out to explore the potential of the nuclear bomb.
According to the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency the project was allegedly established by Iran in 1989 and was shut down in 2003. However, Iran has always insisted that Project Ahmed was a peaceful project and they were never looking for a nuclear weapon.

Analysts believed that the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was done to cripple the chances of the US rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal when Joe Biden handle the office the next year.

At the funeral of Mr. Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council shared in his speech that the professor was killed with a remote attack using “special methods” and “electronic equipment” but refused to give any further details.

The accounts mentioned by Gen Fadavi are the most detailed till now. Gen Fadavi the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards said, “a machine-gun mounted on the Nissan pick-up was “equipped with an intelligent satellite system which zoomed in on martyr Fakhrizadeh” and “was using artificial intelligence”.
The machine-gun “focused only on martyr Fakhrizadeh’s face in a way that his wife, despite being only 25cm [10 inches] away, was not shot”, he said.

The deputy commander that there was no human presence during the murder. “In total 13 bullets were fired and all of them were shot from the [weapon] in the Nissan”. Four bullets struck Fakhrizadeh’s head of security “as he threw himself” on the scientist, he added.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has demanded “definitive punishment” for the culprits and he has vowed to avenge the wedding.

Iran has also shown its suspicions towards Israel and some Irani officials have accused Israel of playing a “serious role” in the killing of Fakhrizadeh.

The killing has also raised concerns about the use of Artificial Intelligence in conflicts. The use of machine guns and remote-controlled weapons in conflicts has increased in the middle east. But Forbes reports says that the use of remote weapons in conflicts is nothing new, they were initially used during the Second World War.
Many scientists including the late Stephen Hawking have disapproved of the use of AI weapons in the war.

This is the second targeted killing of a High ranked official in Iran. Earlier, General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.