The assassin was not a human. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, erstwhile maestro of Iran’s nuclear-weapons programme, was gunned down on November 27th by a remote-controlled machinegun mounted on an exploding pickup truck—if Fars, an Iranian news agency, is to be believed. “No one was present at the scene,” said Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran’s national security council. Other accounts suggest that gummen—human ones—were on the ground, and escaped. The bullets were certainly real.
Mr Fakhrizadeh, notionally a physics professor, was the brains behind Project Amad, Iran’s clandestine pursuit of nuclear weapons from the 1980s to 2003. After Iran’s leaders halted the formal programme, Mr Fakhrizadeh continued to dabble in dual-use research, presumably to keep alive the possibility of a bomb. Documents stolen by the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, suggest that 70% of Mr Fakhrizadeh’s staff under Project Amad stayed with him in a new organisation.
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