All eyes are on Iran to see how they respond to the killing of one of their top scientists. The attack is widely believed to have been carried out by Israel to sabotage a future Biden administration’s efforts to return to diplomacy with Iran. Iranian officials are making it clear that they do not intend to fall into the trap.
“Iran’s scientific and defense policies won’t change because of the assassination of one scientist or general,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said in a statement on Sunday. Iran “shouldn’t fall into the trap of linking the assassination to past nuclear negotiations,” he said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made similar comments on Saturday. “Our people are wiser than to fall in the trap of the Zionist regime,” he said. “Iran will surely respond to the martyrdom of our scientist at the proper time.”
In an interview on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said US-Iran relations could improve after the Trump administration comes to an end. “Under Trump’s presidency, Iran and US tensions rose to a 40-year peak. It seems unnecessary for this situation to continue,” Zarif said.
On the campaign trail, Joe Biden said he would work with Iran to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, which President Trump withdrew from in 2018. Both Zarif and Rouhani have said Iran can quickly come into compliance with the deal if the US lifts sanctions.
Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed outside of Tehran on Friday. The assassination came a few weeks after a report said President Trump reviewed options to attack an Iranian nuclear site. Since the report came out, Iran has been cautioning its allies in the region against provoking tensions with the US, hoping to avoid a military confrontation before Biden’s inauguration.