Saudi Arabia slams killing of Iranian nuclear scientist, urges Tehran to 'not escalate situation'

Saudi Arabia slams killing of Iranian nuclear scientist, urges Tehran to 'not escalate situation'
Fakhrizadeh's assassination is a loss to the Muslim world, Saudi's envoy to the UN said, before urging Iran to refrain from 'escalating the situation'.
2 min read
01 December, 2020
Saudi's comments came after Iran indirectly called it out for its silence [Getty]
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday slammed the killing of Iran's chief nuclear scientist and called on Iran to refrain from escalating situation, Anadolu Agency reported.

In an interview with Russia's RT, Saudi permanent representative to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi described the killing as a "loss".

"The loss of a Muslim scientist is a loss to the entire Muslim Umma (world)," al-Mouallimi was quoted as saying.

The respresentative also warned Iran not to retaliate. "Emotional and spontaneous reactions won't bring positive outcomes," he said, according to the agency.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the head of Iran's former nuclear weapons programme, was killed outside Tehran on Friday after succumbing to wounds sustained from assailants targeting his car.

He was reportedly shot at least three times by a remote-controlled machine gun in an attack Iran accused Israel of plotting.

Saudi's comments came after Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatib indirectly called out the Kingdom for its silence after neighbouring countries all condemned the attack in public statements.

"One neighboring country has not taken a position on the assassination of Fakhrizadeh," Khatib said, in what was interpreted as a jab at Saudi Arabia.

Most Iranian officials blame Israel for the killing, vowing a fierce response. 

Israel has not officially commented on Fakhrizadeh's killing, however a senior Israeli official told NYT that the killed Iranian scientist was a menace and that the world "should thank Israel".

Read also: Saudi Arabia to allow Israeli commercial flights to use its airspace: senior Trump official

Other Gulf countries, including the UAE and Bahraih, issued strongly-worded condemnations.

The UAE described Fakhrizadeh's killing as an "heinous crime", but also called on Tehran to refrain from retaliating.

"The UAE condemns assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and (calls) on all parties to exercise self-restraint to avoid dragging region into new levels of instability and threat to peace," the foreign ministry tweeted.

Britain, a party to the nuclear accord, also on said on Sunday it was "concerned" about possible escalation of tensions in the Middle East following the assassination, while Turkey called the killing an act of "terrorism" that "upsets peace in the region".

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected