Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassination

November 2020
Updated: January 2022

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran's nuclear programme, has been assassinated as he was being driven from Tehran to his weekend villa in Absard.

Claims by Iranian authorities that gunmen were involved were quickly contradicted by Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency that the attack was carried out using a remote-controlled machine gun.

However, in September 2021, the New York Times published a report confirming that Fakhrizadeh was assassinated using a modified Belgian FN Mag machine gun incorporating robotics and varous forms of artificial intelligence, incuding facial recognition.

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

The first known autonomous assassination, the attack prompted politicians, activists and others to voice their fears about the nature and use of lethal autonomous weapons.

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
Opacity: Existence