An Israeli flag with a caption reading "Thank you, Mossad" has been spotted in Tehran, the telegram channel Vahid reported. According to images posted on social media, the flag was hung on a billboard in the Iranian capital. There has been no information so far as to who may have put up the flag.
The development comes almost two weeks after Iranian authorities blamed Israeli intelligence as well as an exiled political group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, for the killing of the country's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Tel Aviv has not officially commented on the accusations, while Tehran has long suspected Israeli intelligence agency Mossad of being behind a series of killings of Iranian scientists.
Several US officials appeared to confirm Iran's hypothesis, saying the scientist was assassinated by Israeli intelligence. An anonymous Israeli official later told The New York Times that the world should "thank" Tel Aviv for the murder of Fakhrizadeh, adding that Israel would continue acting in order to curtail Iran's nuclear programme.
'Remember That Name'
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is considered the father of Iran's nuclear programme. The international community has been concerned about Tehran developing nuclear weapons for years, despite the Islamic Republic's reassurances to the contrary. In 2015, following years of negotiations, Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. Under the agreement signed by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, Tehran curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions and an arms embargo.
Donald Trump, who took office in 2017 harshly criticised the JCPOA, calling it the worst deal ever negotiated. Despite warnings and criticism from other signatories, Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
That same year Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Iran was working on a secret project to obtain a nuclear bomb. Netanyahu alleged that Fakhrizadeh was the head of the programme and told his audience to "remember that name".
Joe Biden, the projected winner of the 2020 US presidential elections, previously signaled that he is willing to revive the Iran nuclear deal. However, a report by the news outlet Axios hinted that the Trump administration is willing to take action prevent the Democrat from rejoining the accord. According to Axios, Trump wants to drown Iran in sanctions making it harder for Biden lift them. A report by The Wall Street Journal also alleged that Trump had even asked his advisers about a potential strike on Iran's nuclear sites. Fakhrizadeh was assassinated just 11 days after the WSJ report.