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UNSC unlikely to respond to Iranian nuclear scientist killing: report

The UN is unlikely to formally respond to the killing [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2020

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Countries have been divided over the killing of the Iranian nuclear scientist.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is unlikely to respond to Tehran demands for action after the recent killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist, diplomats have told Reuters.

Iran has demanded the UNSC condemn the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Absard on Friday, believed to be due to his leading role in the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.

As of Tuesday, South Africa's UN ambassador, Jerry Matjila, who is serving as the UNSC's president in December, has said there has been no request from the body's 15 members to discuss the issue.

Other diplomats have told Reuters there has also been no discussion of a statement by the council in response to the killing.

While no country has not admitted to a role in the assassination, Tehran has accused Israel of killing Fakhrizadeh.

Israel has not responded to the accusation but has been a vocal opponent of Iran's nuclear programme and is believed to be behind the deaths of other scientists working on Tehran's nuclear programme.

Saudi Arabia denies role in Iranian nuclear scientist's killing

Iran wrote a letter regarding the assassination to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, who responded by urging restraint and condemning "any assassination or extra-judicial killing", the body's spokesperson said.

UN investigator on extra-judicial executions, Agnes Callamard, wrote on Twitter over the weekend that the killing was: "a violation of international human rights law prohibiting the arbitrary deprivation of life and a violation of the U.N. Charter prohibiting the use of force extraterritorially in times of peace".

 
On 22 December, the UNSC will meet to discuss compliance of a resolution regarding compliance of a deal on Iran's nuclear programme, which the US withdrew from in 2018.

Any of the UNSC council members or Iran could bring up the scientist's killing during the meeting, according to Reuters.

Israel has accused Iran of using its nuclear facilities and scientists to pursue an atomic bomb, while Tehran insists it's programme is entirely for peaceful, civilian purposes.

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