Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for “final punishment” for those behind the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, for the murder of whom the Iranians directly accused Israel and the United States behind it. In his statement, the Supreme Leader called Mohsen “an outstanding man and an outstanding scientist in the country’s nuclear and defense industries.” Ali Khamenei said Iran’s first priority after the assassination was “final punishment for the culprits and for those who ordered it.” The Iranian mission to the UN described Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s recent work as “developing the first on-site COVID-19 test set” and supervising Tehran’s efforts in developing a possible coronavirus vaccine.
Tel Aviv, long suspected by many to have assassinated Iranian scientists ten years ago in the midst of tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, has yet to comment on the new murder. However, experts noticed that the attack had the characteristics of a carefully planned military style ambush. It is understandable that a new assassination threatens to renew tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, just as elected President Joe Biden suggested that his administration might return to Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Against this background, a few hours after the attack, the Pentagon announced that it had ordered the USS Nimitz to be reshipped back to the Middle East. The military and politicians agreed on this unusual decision, as the aircraft carrier had already spent several months in the region and was returning to the region of its permanent location. The secretary of defense cited the withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as the reason for this decision, stating that “it would be wise to have additional defensive capabilities in the region in case of any unforeseen circumstances.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Government Coronavirus Task Force, President Hassan Rowhani directly accused Israel of the murder and confirmed that the death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh would not stop the country’s nuclear program. It should be mentioned that Iran’s civilian nuclear program continues its experiments and now enriches uranium to 4.5%, which is far below the weapon level of 90%. But analysts compare Mohsen Fakhrizadeh with Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the American Manhattan Project in World War II, which created the atomic bomb.
The attack occurred just a few days before the 10-year anniversary of the assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, which Tehran also accused Israel of. This and other targeted killings took place at a time when the so-called Stuxnet virus, considered an Israeli and American creation, was launched by hackers to destroy the Iranian centrifuge launch program.
These attacks occurred in the midst of Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, although, as usual, no facts have been provided and there are only unconvincing speculations. Tehran has long insisted that its program remains purely civilian in nature. However, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh led Iran’s so-called AMAD program, which Israel and the West claimed was a military operation designed to develop nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency authoritatively claims that the “structured program” for the production of the military component ended in 2003. IAEA inspectors are monitoring Iranian nuclear facilities as part of the currently collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, under which Tehran has restricted uranium enrichment in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. After the unexpected and unprovoked withdrawal of Trump from the deal in 2018, Iran gave up all these restrictions. Experts now believe that Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to make at least two nuclear bombs if it decides to follow the development of nuclear weapons.
Apparently, some Iranian nuclear scientists have been on the list of Mossad and CIA assassins since last year, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. The assassination of two great commanders, former Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Chief of al-Hashd al-Sha’abi in Iraq Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also the result of joint terrorist cooperation between the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. For this reason, it seems that Israel is trying to force Iran to react hastily in the remaining month of the Donald Trump administration, by murdering the scientist, and ensuring a new crisis for the region. The assassination, apparently long planned, took place in the context of recent consultations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. At this meeting, Netanyahu included some of the most influential figures of the Resistance Movement in the list of Mossad assassins and received the necessary permission from US President Donald Trump to kill these individuals.
The murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is unlikely to be the last. It is expected, as the world media reports, that other killings will take place in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and even Iran over the next month. However, Netanyahu is well aware that with the departure of Donald Trump from the White House, he will lose the unconditional support of the United States and, thus, power in Israel. Therefore, he thinks that breaking the peace in the region, involving the countries of the resistance axis, including Iran, in the conflict and conducting a joint attack with the West against these countries can create guarantees of continuation of his power in Israel. Mohammed bin Salman also believes that if Joe Biden comes to power, Mohammed bin Naif may replace him as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and become the next Saudi King.
A striking fact that confirms the well-organized and coordinated plans of Israel and the US on the terrorist assassination of the Iranian scientist, is that Instagram, a network owned by them, removes any posts that express support for the murdered Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
According to Fars News agency, Mossad gained access to Fakhrizadeh’s name through the UN list, where he was mentioned as a senior researcher at the Center for Physical Research of the Iranian Ministry of Defense. It is quite symptomatic that without condemning the murder of Fakhrizadeh, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General António Guterres, said: “We have noted the reports that an Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated near Tehran today. We urge restraint and the need to avoid any actions that could lead to an escalation of tensions in the region.” And why didn’t the UN call Israel and the United States for restraint and a policy of diplomacy rather than terrorist assassinations against Iran before? And should we see the UN, located on American soil, as an international body serving all countries of the world or as an organization acting in defense of terrorists and international bandits? And how do we now consider, for example, individual terrorist acts in Europe, whose initiators and performers take the conduct of Israel and the United States as an example? After all, everything in international life is intertwined nowadays.
Therefore, the creation of crises is a common policy of the United States, Israel and some reactionary Arab regimes. In this regard, world public opinion drew attention to the provocative statement of Mark Dubovitz, the director of the Foundation for the Protection of Democracies: “Two months to go before Joe Biden takes office. Enough time for the US and Israel to cause serious damage to the regime in Iran and create leverage for the Biden administration.” Such is the quintessence of current Israeli and US policies, whose rulers stoop to assassinations of foreign leaders and scientists, desperately trying to promote their own interests by any means. Good Lord, what a world we are being proposed!
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.