January 11, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — An Iranian news agency reports that a fourth Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a professor specializing in petroleum engineering at a technical university and director of Natanz’s uranium enrichment facility. Mehr news agency said he was “deputy director of the commercial department of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.” He was killed by a bomb attached to the side of his car by two men on a motorcycle. My own confidential Israeli source confirms today’s murder was the work of the Mossad and MEK, as have been a number of previous operations I’ve reported here.
The killing took place at or near a Teheran university. The method recalls another series of assassinations that occurred of Fereidoun Abbassi Davani (who was seriously wounded) and his colleague Majid Shahriari (who was killed). Today’s killing occurred two years to the day after the assassination of another scientist, Masoud Ali Mohammadi.
Reuters also adds this:
An [Iranian ] official [said]…”The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists, and is the work of the Zionists (Israelis)” Farsquoted Deputy Governor Safarali Baratloo as saying.
Witnesses told Reuters they saw two people on the motorbike stick the bomb to the car.
Time also offers a comprehensive report.
France’s right-wing Le Figaro newspaper offers (this is an English language report on the story) a window into the types of training and recruitment the Mossad engages in to prepare for such sabotage missions. It reports that Israeli agents identify Iranian Kurdish recruits who are living in exile in Iraqi Kurdistan. There they train them in “spycraft and sabotage:”
…The Iranian assets are being prepared for conducting operations inside [Iran] as part of Israel’s undercover intelligence war against Iran’s nuclear energy program. The Baghdad source told the French daily that part of Israel’s sabotage program against sensitive Iranian nuclear facilities, which includes targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear experts, is directed out of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, “where [Mossad] agents have stepped up their penetration.” For this, “the Israelis are using Kurdish oppositionists to the regime in Iran, who are living as refugees in the Kurdish regions of Iraq”, the source told Le Figaro.
Although the article makes no mention of official or unofficial sanction of the Israeli operations by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities, it implies that the alleged Mossad activities are an open secret in Iraqi Kurdistan. This is not the first time that allegations have surfaced in the international press about Israeli intelligence activities in Kurdistan. In 2006, the BBC flagship investigative television program Newsnight obtained strong evidence of Israeli operatives providing military training to Kurdish militia members. The program aired video footage showing Israeli expects drilling members of Kurdish armed groups in shooting techniques and guerrilla tactics.
The Israeli government denied having authorized any such training, while Iraqi Kurdish officials refused to comment on the report. But Israeli security experts told the BBC that it would be virtually impossible for Israeli trainers to operate inside Iraqi Kurdistan “without the knowledge of the Kurdish authorities.”
Iraqi Kurdistan may be one of the few places in the Arab world in which an Israeli is welcome, even Israeli spies.
There also can be little doubt that the U.S. comes into this mix, as the Iraqi Kurdish authorities maintain extremely good relations with U.S. officials in that country. And it’s hard to believe that we aren’t playing a role in expediting this mischief in any way we can.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it every time something like this happens: assassinations like the one today accomplish nothing. It doesn’t fundamentally harm Iran’s nuclear program. It doesn’t deter Iran or its scientists from pursuing the research and whatever scientific goals they may have. These are shameful acts by a shameful Israeli government exploiting Iranian terrorists for their own ends. I find it disgusting that Israel can get away with such acts with impunity.
I am not a supporter of Iran’s nuclear program. But I am even less a supporter of assassination as state policy, and that includes my own nation, whose president seems especially enamored of targeted killings, even of U.S. citizens.
Tikun Olam www.richardsilverstein.com
More Murder of Iranian Scientists: Still Terrorism?
By Glenn Greenwald
January 11, 2012 Salon” – Several days ago I referenced a controversy that arose in 2007 when the law professor and right-wing blogger Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds criticized President Bush for not doing enough to stop Iran’s nuclear program and then advocated that the U.S. respond by murdering that nation’s religious leaders and nuclear scientists. “We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and Iranian atomic scientists . . . ,” he argued. The backlash against Reynolds’ suggestion was intense, especially among progressive writers.
I imagine a lot of people agree with [Reynolds], but his recommendation really demonstrates the moral knot caused by George Bush’s insistence that we’re fighting a “war on terror.” After all, killing civilian scientists and civilian leaders, even if you do it quietly, is unquestionably terrorism. That’s certainly what we’d consider it if Hezbollah fighters tried to kill cabinet undersecretaries and planted bombs at the homes of Los Alamos engineers.
If you think Iran is a mortal enemy that needs to be dealt with via military force, you can certainly make that case. But if you’re going to claim that terrorism is a barbaric tactic that has to be stamped out, you can hardly endorse its use by the United States just because it’s convenient in this particular case.
What is most amazing about all this is that, a mere three years later, some combination of Israel and the U.S. are doing exactly that which Reynolds recommended. Numerous Iranian nuclear scientists are indeed being murdered.
In January, 2010, a remote-controlled bomb attached to a motorcycle killed Masoud Ali Mohammadi, 50, who “taught neutron physics at Tehran University.” In November, 2010, two separate car bombsexploded within minutes of each other on the same day, one that killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahriar and wounded his wife, and the other which wounded another nuclear scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, along with his wife. Then, in July of last year, Darioush Rezaei, 35, was shot dead and his wife was wounded by two gunmen firing from motorcycles outside of their daughter’s kindergarten; Rezaei “did his doctorate in neutron transport – which lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in reactors and bombs” and “was a member of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the country’s official atomic energy commission.”
And now, yet another Iranian scientist has been killed. According to Iranian media, a 32-year-old university professor, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, died when an assailant riding on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car, which then detonated and killed him. According to The Washington Post‘s Thomas Erdbrink, a conservative news outlet in Iran reported that the young scientist “was believed to be involved in procuring materials for Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.”
What’s most remarkable here is to compare the boisterous, furious denunciations of the mere suggestion by a blogger on the Internet that Iranian scientists be killed, versus the relative silence in the face of its actually being done in real life, now that the corpses of murdered Iranian scientists are beginning to pile up. Does anyone doubt that some combination of the two nations completely obsessed with Iran’s nuclear program — Israel and the U.S. — are responsible? (U.S. officials deny involvement while pointing the finger at Israel, whose officials will not comment but “smile” when asked; the CIA has “targeted” Iran’s scientists in the past, several of whom have disappeared only to end up in U.S. custody, including one who “resurfaced in the United States after defecting to the CIA in return for a large sum of money”). At the very least, there has been no denunciation from any Obama officials of whoever it might be carrying out such acts.
I have no doubt that Professors Campos and Heller would apply the same legal rationale now that it’s actually being done, but what about the progressives who so stridently denounced Reynolds? Does Lemieux still believe that whoever is responsible — Israel, the U.S., or some combination — is guilty of dispatching “illegal death squads”? Does Beyerstein still “despair for our society” that such acts could even be contemplated? Does Drum still believe that whichever political leaders are responsible for these killings are Terrorists; specifically: if, as is widely assumed, the Israelis are responsible, does that mean that Israel is a Terrorist state, and if U.S. agencies are complicit in some way, does that mean President Obama is a Terrorist, a state sponsor of Terrorism or, at the very least, a supporter of Terrorism?
In general, the American covert war against Iran is extraordinarily dangerous and probably illegal (it’s certainly unauthorized), but in particular, the assassination of Iran’s scientists is just reprehensible. Now that it’s actually happening, one wishes the reaction to it were even partially as aggressive as it was when a right-wing blogger suggested it.
* * * * *
Three other brief noteworthy items: (1) yet again, the New York Times’ Public Editor admonishes that newspaper for baseless reporting about Iran that overstates the threat it poses (specifically for overstating the IAEA’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear program); FAIR first raised objections to the offending article last week; (2) here is a telling scene from Tom Friedman’s current field trip to Cairo; and (3) a sixth-grader named Wolf writes a nice little school report for his civics class on the presidential race.
UPDATE: This morning, Haaretz has a timeline of what it calls “Mysterious deaths and blasts linked to Iran’s nuclear program” — and by “linked to,” they mean: “aimed at” (h/t James Carter). It includes the murder of these scientists as well as various explosions killing many people. If you removed the proper nouns from this timeline (Iran, Ahmadinejad, Natanz), very few people would have any doubt that this is Terrorism.
UPDATE II: The right-wing religious extremist Rick Santorum said previously: ”On occasion scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly”; he added: “I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, North Korea, or from Iran and you are going to work on a nuclear program to develop a bomb for Iran, you are not safe.” This is how he justified all that:
If people say, “well, you can’t go out and assassinate people” — well, tell that to Awlaki. OK, we’ve done it. We’ve done it to an American citizen, so we can certainly do it to someone who’s producing a nuclear bomb that can be dropped on the state of Israel . . . .
We better hope and pray Rick Santorum never becomes President or else the legal prohibitions against assassinations will simply be ignored and that will become standard American policy — oh, wait. Meanwhile, long-time commenter DCLaw1 poses this question:
Even for people who don’t believe the US has anything to do with the assassination of Iranian scientists, just flip the scenario: how would they react to news that Israeli scientists were being systematically murdered, and Iranian officials just smiled and acted coy when asked about it? What would they say about that, and what would they say the US and Israel would be justified to do in response?
To answer that, just consider the consensus outrage that spewed forth when it was claimed (ridiculously) that Iran was sponsoring a Terror plot on U.S. soil to have a failed Texan used car salesman to hire Mexican drug cartels to kill the Saudi ambassador: Terrorism!
Glenn Greenwald (email: GGreenwald@salon.com) is a former Constitutional and civil rights litigator and is the author of two New York Times Bestselling books on the Bush administration’s executive power and foreign policy abuses. His just-released book, With Liberty and Justice for Some
- Israeli Source: Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist Joint Mossad-MEK Operation(alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Iran nuclear scientist’s death followed Israeli warning of ‘unnatural’ events (guardian.co.uk)
- Shadow War – Explosion kills Iranian nuclear scientist could be Mossad (nextbigfuture.com)
- Iran car explosion kills nuclear scientist in Tehran (direcmood.wordpress.com)
- Another Iranian nuclear scientist killed; Israel blamed – MiamiHerald.com (miamiherald.com)
- Who’s killing Iranian nuclear scientists? – CNN (cnn.com)
- Iranian nuclear chemist killed by motorbike assassins (guardian.co.uk)
- U.S. Denies Role in Iran Nuclear Scientist’s Assassination (ibtimes.com)
- Analysis: Death of Iranian nuclear scientist sheds light on long history of Israeli covert action(news.nationalpost.com)
- This covert war on Iran is illegal and dangerous | Saeed Kamali Dehghan (guardian.co.uk)
- Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Expert (time.com)
- Bomb kills key Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshanan (independent.co.uk)
- Analysis: Israel uses risky ‘hits’ in deadly shadow war (vancouversun.com)
- Risky Profession: Yet Another Iranian Nuclear Scientist Killed (themoderatevoice.com)
- Iran and the undeclared campaign – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- Iranian nuclear chemist killed in bomb attack (rt.com)
- Scientist killed in Iranian Capital Tehran (ibtimes.com)
- Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Expert: Report (abcnews.go.com)
- Bombs kill Iranian nuclear expert (thehindu.com)
- Iranian nuclear scientist killed in magnetic bomb attack (thestar.com)
- Bombs kill Iranian nuclear expert – Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com)
- Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Expert (usnews.com)
- Bomb kills Iranian nuclear expert (sfgate.com)
- Bombs kill Iranian nuclear expert (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Assassination of nuclear Iranian scientist at Natanz uranium enrichment facility(hazimc.wordpress.com)
- War Games: Iran Blames US and Israel for Car Bomb That Killed Nuclear Research Scientists(thewesternexperience.com)
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