Qatar’s deputy prime minister says the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh “will only help put more fuel on the fire”.
Qatar condemned the murder of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday, calling it a “clear violation of human rights”.
Qatar’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed condolences in a telephone conversation with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday.
Iranian media reported on Friday that Fakhrizadeh died in hospital after being shot dead in his car in an ambush east of Tehran.
Fakhrizadeh was head of the research and innovation organization of the Iranian Ministry of Defense at the time of his death.
The West has long suspected Fakhrizadeh as the mastermind of Iran’s nuclear weapon development efforts, but Iran denies having been involved in such an enterprise.
Al Thani stressed that the scientist’s murder “will only help to put more fuel on the fire if the region and the international community look for ways to ease tension and return to the table of dialogue and diplomacy,” said the Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Saturday.
Al Thani “called for restraint,” it said.
During the call, ministers reviewed bilateral cooperative relationships and issues of common concern, QNA reported.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has accused “mercenary” Israel of killing its top scientist, state television reported on Saturday.
Israel has refused to comment on the Fakhrizadeh assassination.
The assassination comes as US President Donald Trump, who was fervently supported by Israel in its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, is set to resign less than two months after losing the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.
In May 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with the world powers and imposed harsh economic sanctions against Iran, which have only escalated since then.
Last year, the Trump administration also tried to make it harder for a Biden administration to return to the nuclear deal by realigning Iranian units and individuals who have already been sanctioned with new names related to terrorism.