A new weapon that uses satellites and artificial intelligence to hit targets with extreme precision poses some scary implications for warfare … if it exists
One of Iran’s top scientists was killed in a hail of bullets that miraculously missed his wife sitting in the car next to him last month, and now a high-ranking member of the country’s agency in charge of national security has made some scary claims about the weapon that may have killed him.
Despite initial reports of an ambush sparked by an exploding vehicle on a road outside of Tehran where Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead with a degree of precision that pointed to Israel’s feared Mossad spy agency on November 27, the second highest ranking commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has presented a differing theory of the attack, albeit one they say still points to Israel.
Israel has not confirmed or denied responsibility for the scientist’s death.
According to the BBC, citing Iranian media, Revolutionary Guard Brigadier-General Ali Fadavi said a machine gun “equipped with an intelligent satellite system … using artificial intelligence” fired 13 bullets into Professor Fakhrizadeh’s car.
General Fadavi made the comments at the funeral ceremony for Prof Fakhrizadeh, who himself was also a brigadier-general in the Revolutionary Guard.
The claims of such a weapon are worrying, although unverified.
One electronic warfare analyst told the BBC the claims should be taken with “a healthy pinch of salt”, describing the weapon’s description as a collection of “cool buzzwords”.
Israel’s education Minister Yoav Galant, who is also a member of the country’s security cabinet, said he was “not aware” of any such weapon existing, before accusing Iran’s security agencies of an attempted cover up.
“What I see is a great deal of embarrassment on the Iranian side,” Mr Galant told the Israeli defence force’s radio network according to Reuters.
“It would appear that those who were responsible for his security are now coming up with reasons for not having fulfilled that mission.”
Prof Fakhrizadeh is not the only high ranking Iranian official killed this year.
In January, Qassem Soleimani, the head of the specialist Quds Force, which the US considers a “foreign terrorist organisation” along with the Revolutionary Guard it sits within, was killed in Iraq by a US drone strike.
Iran retaliated by firing missiles at US military assets in neighbouring Iraq.
There was some fear at the start of 2020 the situation could escalate and potentially even lead to a third world war, before those concerns were quickly overtaken by the rest of the year and the coronavirus pandemic that has devastated both Iran and the US.