A moment of silence for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi (محسن فخریزاده مهابادی)
In terms of security, we think the last couple of years are a blip that the Iranian powers-that-be would rather forget.
Since 1397, we’ve seen troves of documents from the supposedly secret Nuclear Archives make international headlines, the explosive killing of IRGC-QF head Qasem Soleimani (قاسم سلیمانی ), a series of mysteriously unexplained incidents at nuclear and other sensitive facilities here and there, and now this: our main man, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, has been assassinated. On Iranian soil. Just outside Tehran. In broad daylight.
All of this, despite the regime continuously taking freedoms away from the Iranian people in the name of "security". No wonder they're claiming their revered nuclear scientist died facing an elaborate, futuristic robot that no one could defeat.
As head of the shadowy Iranian nuclear research organization SPND (سپند ), Fakhrizadeh had been a regular presence in our features here at Redline over the years, so much so that we feel we've gotten pretty close (even if it was a little one-sided). So with the frenzy of theories, whodunits and what-nexts still flying round the internet on Fakhrizadeh's death, we'd like to take a minute to reflect upon his life.
A few of our favorite things about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
7. His international man of mystery lifestyle.
It is claimed he had three different passports and traveled to Asia frequently to get
nuclear secrets "the latest
information" from abroad.
6. His audacity and creativity.
5. His ability to win people over.
The Iranian leadership might be trying to act like the nuclear show will go on without Fakhrizadeh, but they've also sworn revenge for the loss of "the country's prominent and distinguished nuclear and defensive scientist". Fakhrizadeh enjoyed unwavering support from the Supreme Leader and successive defense ministers over the years. He even managed to convince Dehghan to keep him around after the, erm, mix-up about what was going on at Parchin soon after her became defense minister.
4. His business acumen.
3. His lackadaisical approach to security.
Putting the obvious (ahem, Atomic Archives) aside for a moment: up until 2013, Fakhrizadeh had his own blog: www.mfakhrizadeh.blogfa.com. Yes, that's right, back in the old Amad days, when he was still supposed to be under the radar, he wrote a blog revealing some of his deepest-held thoughts and personal details on the internet. An early yet indicative sign of his security prowess.
2. His photogenic looks and seeming inability to swerve publicity.
We already revealed that Mohsen was caught on camera back in 2019.
But he's been in the spotlight way longer than that. Not many ordinary Iranian nuclear scientists appear in the Wall Street Journal. Nor do many have a Wikipedia page. In June 2014, Fakhrizadeh even got his own lengthy New York Times profile, complete with a quote from an Iranian nuclear negotiator that Fakhrizadeh was too busy "dodging assassins" to attend talks in Vienna.
1. His sheer perseverance.
He had been in the frame for a long old time, despite many trials, tribulations and a fair few sanctions along the way. The time his employees were hit by an extensive list of US sanctions designations targeted directly at SPND and its web of front companies following the rather embarrassing public revelation of Iran’s atomic archives was probably a low point. But it didn’t deter Fakhrizadeh.
His work didn’t exactly serve to better the lives of ordinary Iranians, nor did it improve Iran’s lot on the international stage. But whoever Fakhrizadeh was, and no matter what you think of the aims of his life’s work, it is clear that he was dedicated.
We’ve wondered before who would be next in line to the SPND throne is anything ever happened to him. We even predicted back in 2014 that the odds were that history would remember Mohsen Fakhrizadeh not as the “Father of the Iranian bomb”, but as the man whose inability to successfully finish the Amad plan in secret meant that Iran was plunged into over a decade of economic hardship and increasing brinkmanship with the West.