Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on Saturday accused Israel of killing the country’s top nuclear scientist, accusing it of acting as a "mercenary" for the US.
"Once again, the wicked hands of the global arrogance, with the usurper Zionist regime as the mercenary, were stained with the blood of a son of this nation," Rouhani said in a statement on his official website.
Iran generally uses the term "global arrogance" to refer to the US, AFP reported.
Rouhani said the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is a major loss, vowing to take revenge on the right time.
Iran's defense ministry earlier announced that Fakhrizadeh died after being seriously wounded when "assailants" targeted his car and engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards outside the capital Tehran on Friday.
Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday that there were "serious indications of an Israeli role" in the assassination.
Remarkably, Fakhrizadeh was considered one of Tehran's most prominent nuclear scientists.
The US slapped sanctions on him in 2008 for "activities and transactions that contributed to the development of Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once described him as the father of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Also, The New York Times said a US official and two other intelligence officials confirmed Israel was behind the attack, without giving further details, according to AFP.
The assassination comes less than two months before US President-elect Joe Biden is to take office. The latter has promised a return to diplomacy with Iran after Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and began re-imposing crippling sanctions.