Leading scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed near the capital of Tehran the ministry stated. Fakhrizadeh is an incredibly important figure in Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and has been likened to Robert Oppenheimer – the man credited with helping to establish the nuclear bomb. Such is his importance in the country, some foreign leaders had even mentioned him in briefs.
State media reported the scientist had been killed in his car following an explosion.
It has also been alleged that machine gunfire occurred shortly after the blast.
Others were also rushed to the hospital following the attack but emergency services were unable to revive him.
No group or organisation has taken responsibility for the attack as it stands.
A statement from Iran’s Defence Ministry said: “Armed terrorists targeted a vehicle carrying Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the ministry’s research and innovation organisation.
“After a clash between the terrorists and his bodyguards, Mr Fakhrizadeh was severely injured and rushed to hospital.
“Unfortunately, the medical team’s efforts to save him were unsuccessful and minutes ago he passed away.”
It had also been reported the attack took place in Absard, a small city to the east of Tehran.
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The country’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) has also vowed to take action against whoever was responsible for the attack.
In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu identified the scientist as the head of Iran’s Organisation of Defensive Innovation and Research.
Previously there had been no picture of the Iranian official who also had travel restrictions imposed on his movements.
Iran had maintained his involvement in any nuclear programme had been for peace purposes despite Western intelligence agencies viewing him as the father of the Iranian bomb.
This year, the leader of the IRGC, Qassem Soleimani was also killed in an attack.
Soleimani had also been head of the elite Quds Force and was targeted by a US drone strike on January 3.
The strike was approved by Donald Trump and led to Iran launching missiles at US bases in the region.