Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated with robot machine gun

Occurred: November 2020

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran's nuclear programme, was assassinated by a remote-controlled machine gun as he was being driven from Tehran to his weekend villa in Absard.

The first known autonomous assassination, the attack promptedpoliticians, activists and others In Iran and other countries to voice their fears about the nature and use of lethal autonomous weapons. 

The New York Times later published a report confirming that Fakhrizadeh was assassinated using a modified Belgian FN Mag machine gun incorporating robotics and various forms of artificial intelligence, including facial recognition. The weapon was reportedly capable of firing at Fakhrizadeh without hitting his wife, who was beside him.

According to the Times, the attack was controlled by a Mossad team operating in a command centre outside Iran.

Israel has not publicly commented on the allegations of its involvement.

Operator: Mossad
Developer: FN MAG
Country: Israel  
Sector: Govt - military
Purpose: Kill/maim/damage/destroy  
Technology: Robotics; Facial recognition
Issue: Dual/multi-use; Autonomous lethal weapons  
Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: December 2020
Last updated: June 2024