Another nuclear scientist assassinated in Tehran

Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan

An Iranian university professor and deputy director at Natanz enrichment facility was killed in a terrorist bomb blast in a Northern Tehran neighborhood on Wednesday morning, the Fars News Agency reports.

Some guy says this was a joint operation carried out by Mossad and the Iranian terrorist group, Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) — though when I say “some guy,” if that’s taken to imply that the source of this information is a man, I am perhaps being too specific.

Richard Silverstein heard about the Mossad-MEK connection from his “own confidential Israeli source.” This attribution of responsibility for the attack may indeed be accurate, but to describe a source no more specifically than to say that this source is an “Israeli” tells us next to nothing. It does however allow newspaper journalists to repeat this “information” as though it was news. Hence the Fars News Agency itself repeats Silverstein’s claim and tries to boost his credibility by describing him as “a senior Jewish American journalist.” Israel’s Ynet plays the same game, though with the embellishment that Silverstein’s source has been elevated to a “senior Israeli source.”

Having said all that, it seems reasonable to assume that this attack — an attack that were it to take place anywhere outside Iran would widely be described as a terrorist attack — was conducted with the direct or indirect involvement of the Israeli and/or United States governments.

One of the strange ethical anomalies of the era in which we live is that an American president willingly accepts responsibility for authorizing assassinations conducted by special forces or drone-launched Hellfire missiles, even though in both types of operation the target may be mistaken and innocent bystanders frequently get killed, yet no government official is willing to claim responsibility for a cold-blooded murder. For the killing to be legitimized it has to given the legal pretext that it is being conducted on a “battlefield” during a “war.”

For as long as the streets of Tehran are not regarded as a battlefield and neither the United States nor Israel is officially at war with Iran, no one will acknowledge that a campaign of state terrorism is indeed being waged, since to do so would be offer an open invitation for Iran to respond in kind.

Bloomberg reports:

Today’s attack “comes in the middle of heightened tensions and it helps Iran to play on a sense of threat that it is under a lot of pressure,” Gala Riani, a Middle East analyst at London-based forecaster IHS Global Insight, said by telephone. “It can also be beneficial to more extremist elements in the government who are supporting further military drills in the Strait of Hormuz.”

Iran conducted naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz for 10 days that ended early this month.

Previous attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists include the assassination of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, killed by a bomb outside his Tehran home in January 2010, and an explosion in November of that year that took the life of Majid Shahriari and wounded Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who is now the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

Oil pared losses of as much as 0.6 percent after the report on Roshan’s death. Crude for February delivery was at $102.25 a barrel, up 1 cent, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:06 p.m. Singapore time.

“While it is difficult to gauge the impact of the scientists’ deaths on the country’s nuclear development, Iranian officials have already acknowledged they have a human-resources problem in the program largely because of the sharp political differences within the country,” Meir Javedanfar, lecturer on Iranian politics at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, said in a telephone interview.

The explosion follows an Iranian court’s Jan. 9 decision to sentence an American of Iranian descent, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, to death for spying. U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said allegations that Hekmati worked for the CIA were “simply untrue.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 thoughts on “Another nuclear scientist assassinated in Tehran

  1. delia ruhe

    The last time this “pre-crime” model was employed was during the Holocaust. Israel must be so proud.

  2. Richard Silverstein

    I have described my source in more detail in other interviews which, if you cared you could research & find out about or even contact me instead of continuing this nasty series of attacks on my credibility.

    My source is quite senior & has served in the past as a minister. He also has extensive military background.

    I don’t know what I ever did to deserve this treatment. I feel sad for you.

  3. DE Teodoru

    Imagine if Tehran now connects the assassination to the USA the way we connected alQaeda and 9/11 to the Taliban and Pakistan, invading and massacring in both countries at will. Finally our chickens are coming home to roost with precedents we set after 9/11. The Russians and Chinese are laughing at how we set ourselves up.

  4. scottindallas

    Richard, I didn’t read it as an attack on you, but on the process. In fact, that’s a bit of a narcissistic reading of the article. These sorts of releases of information are often deliberate and designed to obfuscate and other times are truly revealing. He accepts your reporting, and then asks, or points out that if the shoe were on the other foot, these attacks would be labeled “terrorism.” Do you agree? If so, doesn’t that mean you have a scathing commentary to write? Don’t you have a duty to decry the hypocrisy?

  5. Norman

    Either you agree with the official B.S. or you reject it. Perhaps it would do one to prepare for the fall out when the powers to be drop the bomb, whether it be in the M.E. or the U.S.A. Think this impossible? Think again, for when the rats are up against the wall, they do the unthinkable.

  6. Paul Woodward

    Richard — I think you have got this back to front. It’s not your readers who are responsible for trying to find out whether your sources are credible. On the contrary, it is your responsibility to provide evidence that you are relying on credible sources. And although I say sources, from what you’ve written above it sounds as though you rely on just a single Israeli source.

    On your site you appeared to be concerned about not divulging the gender of your source (“s/he”) but you’ve pulled back one small piece of the veil above by saying “He”. You also say he’s “quite senior”. What’s that supposed to mean? He’s over 65? He’s a former government minister (Israeli government I take it) but to say he’s quite senior without identifying some kind of institutional affiliation doesn’t tell us much.

    For many years now there has been a lot of criticism leveled at the mainstream media for its use of unnamed sources. We are forever being told that “senior administration officials” say this and that. However, even with this vague attribution we still know that an administration has some accountability for what its officials say — even when they are not named. Seniority means nothing unless its attached to something else.

    If an Israeli — “senior” or otherwise — claims to have access to intelligence information that would be of great interest to any journalist, then you need to ask yourself why they are sharing it with you. Is it because no one else would dare put it into print, or perhaps because others might treat such “intelligence” as hearsay.

  7. Mndwss

    “My source is quite senior & has served in the past as a minister. He also has extensive military background.”

    Who is your source? Napoleon? A voice in your head?

    “I don’t know what I ever did to deserve this treatment. I feel sad for you.”

    You write stuff that a voice in your head told you was fact, and then you feel sad for someone who does not believe in you?

    You attack your own credibility.

    I feel sad for you Mr. Silverstein.

  8. eddy mason

    Imagine the hue and cry if Iran knocked off one of Israesl’s nuclear scientists in the centre of Tel Aviv! What a hypocritical dishonest detestable country Israel has become. It never ceases to amaze me that the Palestinian leadership can bring themselves to sit in the same room with Israel’s “peace negotiators”! Isn’t it time the world got over their “holocaust guilt trip” and fronted up to this rogue state! I won’t be holding my breath!

Comments are closed.