Trita Parsi on assassinating the Iranian nuclear scientist

Another Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated in Tehran and a familiar pattern is emerging: Weeks before a new round of talks, all sides escalate and provoke, mainly to improve their negotiating position at the upcoming talks.

The West has adopted new sanctions and is pressing for an oil embargo. The Iranians, in turn, have started enrichment at the Fordow facility and have warned it will close the Straits of Hormuz if the West proceeds with an oil embargo.

But there are also actors that escalate at times not to strengthen their position at the talks, but to scuttle the talks. The attack on the British embassy in Tehran late last year was partly motivated by the desire of one political faction in Iran to undo the talks. Yesterday’s assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist was likely conducted by a regional actor who prefers a military confrontation with Iran over a compromise that would permit Iran to retain nuclear enrichment capabilities, even if it doesn’t build a bomb.

Indeed, in late November 2010, nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari was assassinated in an identical way as the killing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan yesterday. That assignation took pace only seven weeks before a new round of scheduled talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Istanbul. Yesterday’s assassination also precedes the next round of talks with a few weeks.

12 thoughts on “Trita Parsi on assassinating the Iranian nuclear scientist”

    1. I'm wondering the exact same thing. "A regional actor" would be MeK? Mossad? Mossad posing as MeK? CIA posing as Mossad posing as Mek? The 'super secret' Tony Blair mercenary ninjas?

  1. i would assume that the heat turns up even more on iran just before the elections in 2 months. no doubt the US has an army of spies in tehran ready to send back camera phone videos, pictures and other "evidence" of the Iranian governments "crimes" against its own people.

  2. regarding "desire of one political faction in Iran to undo the talks", the most favorable outcome of any such talks is preservation of the status quo, UNSC sanctions can never be lifted without consent of all veto-wielding permanent member states and the position of the US and its satellites is perfectly clear on that matter. Does the author claim that one Iranian political faction organized student protests at the British embassy in order for the US to be better able to make China and Russia agree to more sanctions. Does the author claim British measures against Iran were just a convenient pretext for this Iranian faction to organize students to attack the British embassy?

    1. @waslhtrhee: Excellent reponse. Sadly, most "Iran analysts" either have ideological binders, or feel the need to voice an opinion acceptable to Washington and the media to ensure their 'status'. It would help if accuracy were the primary motive for 'analyzing'.

  3. The US “could” have been behind this, or it could have been Israel, the UK, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, etc… It may have been a combination of foreign interests. It’s also possible the attack came from within Iran–possibly from a separatist or reformist group outside the regime, or even from within the Iranian regime itself—stemming from some sort of intra-regime feud/attempted power grab. The intent may have been to influence the upcoming proposed “P5+1” ‘talks’ scheduled to take place in Turkey ‘soon’, or maybe an attempt to influence Iran’s upcoming elections. It may have even been an attempt to influence both, or neither.

    It’s also theoretically possible the assassination was completely unrelated to politics in general, and rather motivated by a personal, even domestic, dispute…perhaps the man’s wife found out he was cheating on her and hired a hit man—and the surrounding geopolitical ‘questions’ and ‘issues’ this stirs up were not even considered, and irrelevant, to the actual perpetrator(s) who orchestrated the killing. Who knows…

    1. It does not matter who did it. The way it was done allows every group to blame who they want to blame, and it will be believeable. However, the easiest group to believe did this is israel in conjunction with the us. So, that is who did it.

      There is no reason to make it any more complicated. They (us and israel) have shown that the war on terrorism is a sham.

      Assassinating nuclear scientists is pretty much the lowest and most cowardly form of terrorism that we can have and the us and israel are the most likely and believable suspects.

      I hate this world that they are creating. Everyone should.

      1. The pro-Israeli think tanks had planned the assassination of scientist in 2005, if not prior to. UN & UNSC simply support these terrorists with their silence.
        Michael Eisenstadt, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute in his book titled: "The Challenges of U.S. Preventive Military Action", suggested the following covert actions against Iran's nuclear facilities: :
        "harassment or murder of key Iranian scientists or technicians;"
        "introduction of fatal design flaws into critical reactor, centrifuge, or weapons components during their production, to ensure catastrophic during use;"
        "introduction of destructive viruses into Iranian computer systems controlling the production of components or the operation of facilities;"
        "damage or destruction of critical facilities through sabotage…"

        Likewise, Patrick Clawson, recommended sabotaging the Iranian nuclear plants indicating that this would 'kill' less people than an all out war (C-Span, Woodrow Wilson Center 2005). Patrick Clawson's quest to sabotage Iran's nuclear program stems from his desire to d

  4. (…)
    Absent a transparent, apolitical investigation producing credible and verifiable information, which will not be conducted or forthcoming, it's hard to say; however, if I were to put money on it, I’d bet it was more a “reaction” to recent events (i.e. Iran’s unsolicited and voluntary announcement of plans to begin uranium enrichment in their newly operational underground facility in the mountains, fuel rod, etc.); and less of a serious attempt to influence Iran’s future behavior. If the nuclear issue couldn’t be resolved during the P5+1 talks in 2010, I’m not entirely sure what has changed today, other than increased belligerence and ratcheted up rhetoric on all sides, that will help facilitate a different outcome.

  5. (…)
    Maybe it was simply a ‘reminder’ that “all options are on the table”. It probably did nothing positive in the way of ending Iran’s uranium enrichment, however, it made certain people “feel better” because they responded, in some form, to Iran’s recent defiant and bellicose actions… In these situations, it often seems ”feelings” are what’s important; rather than actual outcomes or results…

  6. The new Japanese guy running IAEA is on CIA's payroll without any doubt. Iran needs to leave the IAEA. Nobody is assassinating North Korean scientists; are they? Nobody is assassinating Pakistani scientists; are they? Well, there you have it.

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