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Nuclear scientist killed in Iran by machine gun with ‘artificial intelligence’

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A satellite-controlled machine gun equipped with “artificial intelligence” was used to assassinate Iran’s chief nuclear scientist, according to officials in the country.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who founded Iran’s nuclear program in the 2000s, had a security detail of 11 guards while traveling with his wife on Nov. 27 in a car on a highway outside Tehran when an automatic machine gun outfitted with AI and an advanced camera zoomed in on his face and fired 13 times, an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps deputy commander told local media Sunday.

“The machine gun was equipped with artificial intelligence to target martyr Fakhrizadeh,” Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi said Sunday, according to the Mehr news agency. “The gun was focused only on martyr Fakhrizadeh, and his wife was not shot, despite being a few centimeters away.”

The head of Fakhrizadeh’s security detail, meanwhile, was shot four times when he threw himself on the scientist, Fadavi said, adding that no attackers were at the scene.

Fakhrizadeh — who was shot three times, including a bullet that severed his spine — was pronounced dead at a hospital, Fadavi said.

The high-tech machine gun used in the attack was mounted atop a Nissan pickup truck parked about 164 yards away before the vehicle blew up. The entire attack lasted just three minutes, the semi-official Fars news agency previously reported.

That account contradicted earlier reports out of Iran that the Nissan exploded first before Fakhrizadeh was ambushed by at least 12 gunmen, including snipers. But a top Iranian security official later made a similar claim during Fakhrizadeh’s funeral on Nov. 30.

“Unfortunately, the operation was a very complicated operation and was carried out by using electronic devices,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. “No individual was present at the site.”

Iran has accused Israel of being behind the assassination, while Shamkhani has also blamed an Iranian exile group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), for “having a role” in the killing, without elaborating.

A spokesman for MEK, which has previously been accused of helping Israeli operations in Iran, has dismissed Shamkhani’s accusations as “rage, rancor and lies.”

Israel, meanwhile, has not commented publicly on the allegations.

Two years ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly outed Fakhrizadeh as Iran’s director of its rogue nuclear weapons program, the outlet reported.

“Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu said in 2018 when revealing that Israel discovered an archive of Iranian material in a Tehran warehouse detailing its nuke program, according to the report.

Fakhrizadeh was also an officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which was designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019.

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