Accused of killing Iranian scientists

Are the U.S. and Israel sabotaging Iran's nuclear program by assassinating the country's nuclear experts?

The assassination of Iranian scientists “is gradually turning into a national problem,” said the Iranian Ruzegar in an editorial. Last week, Darioush Rezaeinejad was killed in a drive-by shooting at his home. Rezaeinejad was an electronics student, but his name is very similar to that of Dariush Rezai, a nuclear physicist, raising speculation that the assassins had mistaken him for their true target. Rezai would have been the fourth scientist to be murdered within two years. The three scientists that were killed had all been working on nuclear projects—and we know who is responsible. Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called the killing an “American-Zionist act of terror” and warned that “the Americans must think carefully about the consequences of such acts.” Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij militia, outlined those consequences when he said that, because America uses Israel as its proxy for killing Iranians, “we have no option but to remove the Zionist regime from the annals of history.” This would be the only way, he said, “for our scientists to continue with their scientific jihad in full security.”

The culprits “may well be the United States” and Israel, said Alexander Reutov in the Moscow Kommersant. Rezai isn’t the first Iranian scientist to be targeted. “Physical elimination of enemies of Israel is the signature of Mossad,” the Israeli intelligence service, but its actions presumably have the blessing, or even support, of the CIA. Consider the “curious case” of Shahram Amiri, a physicist who disappeared in 2009 during a pilgrimage to Mecca and showed up a year later at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, claiming he had been kidnapped by U.S. intelligence. My money’s on Mossad, not the CIA, said Brian Downing in the Hong Kong Asia Times. U.S. threats against Iran “dropped off markedly” in 2007, right when Iran-backed Shiite militias stopped attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. Coincidence? No, it’s “a sign that a confidential agreement had been reached between the two states.” But that left Israel in the lurch and “livid” that Iran’s nuclear program, which it considers a threat to its existence, was free to continue.

The field has obviously been ceded to the spies, said Guido Olimpio in the Milan Corriere della Sera. Diplomacy has failed to stop Iran’s nuclear program, so the U.S. and Israel are sabotaging it, and not only through assassinations. In the past two years, there have been unexplained explosions at Iranian military bases, nuclear equipment has been damaged, and the mysterious Stuxnet computer virus laid waste to the centrifuges that enrich uranium. But the Iranians “are not standing by with their arms folded.” They have unleashed their own covert operations against the West. “The danger some people fear is that the clash may get out of hand.”

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Iran will not be cowed, said Seyyed Hamid Hosseini in the Iranian Khorasan. The West obviously believes that picking off our experts and scientists will frighten us into ending our lawful nuclear activities. The opposite is true. “The fact that the enemy is ready to take such measures to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability only redoubles our will to carry on.”

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