Another Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated
by Peter Myers Newsletter on 14 Jan 2012 5 Comments

(1) 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 US 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. ...

What is most amazing about all this is that, a mere three years later, some combination of Israel and the US 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 bombs exploded 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 US - 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 US 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 US, 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 US 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.

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 US soil to have a failed Texan used car salesman to hire Mexican drug cartels to kill the Saudi ambassador: Terrorism!

Glenn Greenwald (email: 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.

(2) South Korea wants to buy more Oil from Iran; will ask US for exemption from sanctions

South Korea Increases Oil Deal with Iran

By Chana Ya’ar; 1/4/2012

South Korea has made an agreement to increase its oil business dealings withIran and helping to sabotage US economic sanctions against the Iranian Republic. The southeastern Asian nation announced Wednesday that it will buy around 10 percent of its crude from Tehran this year, a slight increase over 2011. SK Energy will buy the additional crude, taking a total of about 130,000 bpd (barrels per day) in 2012. Hyndai Oilbank, the other importer, will take 70,000 bpd, but said it is making contingency plans for any interruption in supplies. “We are planning for various scenarios, including diversifying supply lines, if the situation changes,” a company spokesman said.

Iran has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, thereby choking off a major oil shipping lane through which some 40 percent of the world’s oil is delivered to the rest of the world. The threat, which appeared to be another move in the chess game being played out over its global nuclear ambitions, was brushed aside by the US, who warned that any attempt to close the Strait would be regarded as “an act of war.”

South Korean refiners purchased 190,000 bpd (barrels per day) from Iran last year, according to the Reuters news agency. The country, which rates as the fifth-largest oil importer in the world, will meet with the US to request an exemption from sanctions signed into law by President Barack Obama on Saturday. The sanctions could block refiners from paying for Iranian oil.

Likewise, the European Union is also considering measures to ban its member nations from importing Iranian crude. Both moves are intended to convince Iran to at least slow down, if not entirely halt its nuclear development activities. Israel, the US, most European nations and a fair number of Arab nations as well are convinced that Iran is racing to create a nuclear weapon.

China has not yet agreed to sign oil deals with Iran this year, and meanwhile cut its imports from Tehran by more than half in January. Instead, Beijing is starting to purchase its crude from Russia, Vietnam, West Africa and Iraq, according to Reuters. Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is a likely candidate to supply South Korea as well, if the Asian nation decides to seek its supplies elsewhere.

(3) Iranian nukes could only be defensive; a nuclear attack against Israel would be suicidal: By Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz /print-edition/opinion/insanity-not-logic-guides-israel-s-leadership-1.393940

If Iran dares mount a nuclear attack against Israel, Iran will be committing public, painful, mass suicide. Israel will respond, and the world will not be silent. Jerusalem knows that and, more importantly, so does Tehran.

[... ] Iran wants nuclear weapons to protect its regime. It saw former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi bombed and it understands - very logically, it should be said - that if it possessed a nuclear option, the world would not touch it, as it touches neither North Korea nor Pakistan. Iran also wants to be a regional power in the new Middle East, and it knows that one way of doing so is by means of centrifuges. It would be preferable, of course, if it did not get its wish, preferable that the world exert pressure so that it does not attain nuclear arms, but it is clear to all that no bombing will keep them from Iran forever.

The only conclusion from all of the above is that there is an illogical leadership in the Middle East, but it is not necessarily in Tehran. Fear, partly false fear, dwells in Jerusalem, the outcome of the fear-mongering and demonization that is always present here, regarding everything from swine flu to the Iranian nuclear program. Alongside it is the megalomania that says that Israel can call the shots in the region as it sees fit. The mens’ men who are threatening Iran now are the real cowards’ cowards. The brave ones are in fact those who are trying to thwart the insanity, from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

(4) NYT public editor agrees that Times wrongly suggested IAEA said Iran is developing nukes

NYT Responds on Iran Alarmism

Public Editor: ‘I think the readers are correct on this’

1/10/12 from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has responded to concerns raised in a FAIR action alert last week (1/6/12), agreeing that the paper wrongly suggested that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

In a post at his Times blog (1/10/12), Brisbane agrees that the paper was incorrect in referring to “a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran’s nuclear program has a military objective.” As FAIR pointed out, the IAEA report does not make such a firm conclusion, and many critics question the evidence that Agency has collected.

Brisbane concluded:

I think the readers are correct on this. The Times hasn’t corrected the story but it should because this is a case of when a shorthand phrase doesn’t do justice to a nuanced set of facts. In this case, the distinction between the two is important because the Iranian program has emerged as a possible casus belli.

While not mentioning FAIR, Brisbane wrote: “Some readers, mindful of the faulty intelligence and reporting about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program, are watchingthe Iran nuclear coverage very closely.” ...

Peter Myers is a writer who lives a simple life on a small farm. Apart from writing, he builds whatever’s needed, does the plumbing, and grows subtropical and tropical fruits. He has done a number of academic courses, but finds academia (in the West) too narrow and ex-cathedra in its mindset: stifling of genuine creative thought. Genuine independent thinking now takes place outside official circles, on the internet


User Comments Post a Comment

Back to Top