Why An Iranian Nuclear Scientist Was Really Just Assassinated


By now, news of the assassination of the project-head of Iran’s nuclear weapons effort, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, has gone around the world. What is less clear, however, is the identity of the perpetrators – and why they would undertake such a move.

On the surface, both elements seem obvious – the Israelis have a clear motivation for wishing to stab at Iran’s nuclear effort and some form for doing so in the past via targeted killings. Something that had also been done to other nations as and when convenient (including their rather inspired choice of hiring none other than Otto Skorzeny in return for a faked ‘pardon’ for his Nazi service, to get at German scientists working for Egypt in the 1960s).

And I do not disagree that Israel is the most likely suspect. Although their actual reasoning for a strike would be somewhat different than the intuitive suggestion that this is merely about attempting to frustrate Iran’s nuclear capability development. And, further, that they are unlikely to be the sole conspirator (a contradiction in terms).

As ever, the timing of events is crucial. We are in the dying days of the Trump Administration. The Netanyahu-dominated government of Israel knows this – and knows that its much free-er hand in the Middle East thanks to a pliant and pliable President in Washington, is similarly likely to be facing impending restraint from the incoming Biden regime. After all, it was the Obama Administration in which Biden served who took the radically logical step to actually endeavour to negotiate (and successfully, it must be added) with Tehran rather than continuing to treat them fruitlessly as international pariahs.

Said Administration – the Obama one, I mean – had also pointedly opposed Israel’s efforts at destabilizing the situation via ongoing covert escapades and assassinations. And while it could therefore be fairly suggested that the Israelis might have chosen to ‘get while the getting was good’, I think that there is something else going on here. Something that has both had a longer-term buildup to it; and which may very well have taken place in some form regardless of recent US political events.

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We have recently seen Israel act with the Trump Administration and also off its own bat to shore up the ‘Saudi-Israeliya’ axis of allies amidst certain Arab states; moves and maneuvers that have enabled an ‘above-ground’ rapproachment between governments that had long been working together ‘under the table’, and opened the door to the greater provision of American military hardware to same. This was evidently a long-term project which had been designed to make the region (south of Iraq and Syria, at least) more ‘resilient’ against perceived Iranian influence – and hopefully help to prevent another Syria or another Yemen (where the Sunni-Saudi-Israeli alignment has either been stymied or is getting a severely bloody nose and looking bad whilst doing it, respectively).

We have also recently seen Trump bluster about starting a war with Iran – not only via his reckless attitude towards the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani towards the start of this year (which triggered a symbolically necessary Iranian reprisal strike), but also following the Election. And it is that last element which is key here.

Little more than a week after it became apparent that he had not (immediately) won, Trump conjured together his Vice President, Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defence Secretary, with a view towards exploring strike options against Iran. At the time, it seemed like a curious maneuver – one which might have presented a convenient sideshow spectacle as post-electoral shenanigans were engaged in back home, perhaps.

However, read in light of the above, this recent targeted killing of an Iranian nuclear official may suggest that instead of an overt and blustery ‘symbolic’ blow in the manner of the cruise missile strike against a Syrian airbase in 2017, the Trump Administration may have given the go-ahead to something different. And much more cunning.

You see, the net impact of this most recent assassination isn’t really going to be much of a dent in the Iranian nuclear project. That’s not what it was designed to do. Rather, it is all about the optics of the thing – it is a ‘showy move’ of a different, and a far more ‘slow-burning’ kind. It is about making it far more difficult for the incoming Biden Administration to actually resume nuclear rapprochement with Tehran. Both due to the lingering perception that the Americans may have been implicitly involved in giving the Israelis a green light for the killing, as well as the plausible retaliatory action that Iran may now engage in against whomever it is that they officially declare to have been responsible. The Trump Administration will likely double down upon the action – if not claiming credit for it, then claiming that it was a moral and just action to have occurred and offering their support to whomever it was that pulled the metaphorical trigger.

A much more tense situation between Iran and the West, between the countries on either side of the Persian Gulf, is exactly what the Israeli government dearly wishes. They have been quite dismayed at the manner in which the Trump Administration’s singularly inept blustery-shouting-that-it-is-diplomacy have managed to push European Union countries to engage more positively with Iran. Provoking Iran into what can be sold as their ‘lashing out’ and bellicose shows of attempted strength that make for good propaganda for those endeavouring to cast the Iranians as frothing-at-the-mouth scary fundamentalist extremists, would be useful to them. And would also help to support the development of acceptance amidst various Arab populations for their governments’ already-decided rapprochement with Israel. ‘The Enemy Of My Enemy’, and all that.

So, whether this was an Israeli operation or one that the Americans nudged into occurrence (perhaps this is a part of why Pompeo was in Jerusalem last week), I think that the outgoing Trump Administration will have some small cause for celebration this week. They have managed to secure something they have dearly desired – a likely frustration and hamstringing for the incoming Biden Administration’s presumed intent to re-engage with Iran. And therefore, perhaps, Trump won’t have to see if he can start an overt and conventional war with Iran between now and January in order to have a lasting ‘strike from the grave’ at his soon-to-be replacement’s ambitions and Presidency.

As I say – this is cunning. It is slow burning. The only serious question is – just how much of the Middle East may yet burn as a result of it. Hopefully, the wisdom and restraint demonstrated by the Iranians when dealing with the deliberate provocations of the Americans shall once again come to the fore. During the January retaliation for the murder of Major General Soleimanei, it was noted that the missile-strike was very much a symbolic one – it satisfied in some limited sense, the visual requirement for Iranian retribution to be ‘seen to be done’, without actually causing sufficient damage nor casualties to the Americans to then militate a subsequent escalation from that quarter (no doubt to the great disappointment of some).

Perhaps there is room for some similarly line-walking careful placement of foot so as to avoid both accelerator and landmine over the next two months as we all collectively wait for the clock to run down on the Trump Administration. Careful, cautious, and perspicacious consideration from Iran, I mean. I don’t think anybody else involved is nearly so keen to avoid dragging  the Americans into a pointless quagmire, including various of the (outgoing) Americans themselves.


  1. The ugly Chauvinism from the warlord winners of the Usa election,,, and it’s client state for foreign bombing affairs, the Usa. ,,, Just like to blow people up and act like shit ,, and the price paid in others blood or oil ,,, is always worth it.

    Never forget ,,, they do it again and again and again.

    Big or small try to kill them all ,,, this century has been good for the boom boom bro’s https://youtu.be/oB3B-SSXKII

    They share ‘ the irrational belief in the superiority or dominance of one’s own group or people, who are seen as strong and virtuous, while others are considered weak or unworthy’.

    Disgusting ,,, https://youtu.be/UWzf8Rke3p4

  2. What a total crock. The guy was assassinated by his own people from the burgeoning groundswell in Iran of opposition to the rule of the mullahs who are destroying their country.

      • Just like it is easy to pretend to be an all knowing expert and say or suggest that Israel and Trump had nothing to do with it.

        It is easy to blame Trump when everyone knows that if it suited his purposes and narrative Trump would have Rudi Giuliani at press conferences with a Hunter Biden computer ‘found’ in a second hand shop in Jamestown Tennessee with ‘incriminating evidence’ of a plan to kill the scientist.

        Any doubt about that?

    • The usa is the greatyest purveyor of violence in the world ,,,

      Israel is its mini me with short mans disease ,,,, blood star blue.

      Here is some real news that shows how full of zion lies gobby and garry are.,,,

      Shalom war pigs … do not let the thought of the coming dead syrian children …. excite you like Epstein with a a 12 year .. and he says high from zion

      • No ‘reason’ about you, is there, sewer mouth? If the Israelis did take the sod out, with their usual brilliance, I might add, they did well to neutralise a viable military target from an evil regime that repeatedly makes existential threats against Israel. Jews take threats of genocide seriously. Funny that. They look out for their people against the sick haters, many of whom inhabit this site.

        • Gaby: “No ‘reason’ about you, is there, sewer mouth?”

          I advise you against reading or responding to “reason”. That commenter is long on ad homs and short on rationality.

          For those reasons, I no longer read comments by “reason”. Life’s too short and all that…..

        • I agree with several of your points Gaby.
          Israel do take people out illegally and disregard borders.
          Israel does illegally “neutralise” or attack targets in other states who have never fought with Israel. They have an agenda of illegal expansion and have no regards for the rights of others. Call that evil if you wish as most people would.
          “Jews take threats of genocide seriously.”
          Who is threatening Jews with genocide.
          Israel seems to agree with genocide as they practice it against the natives of greater Palestine.
          Israel has nuclear weapons illegally and will not allow inspection of their facilities by international agencies.
          So the double standard of Israel stealing nuclear capability but running a campaign of terror denying Iran to attempt to develop nuclear capability as a deterrent to stop its aggressive warlike neighbour, shows how twisted the Israeli psyche has been allowed to develop.
          Jews take threats of genocide seriously and threaten others under the guise of Israel is possibly what you mean Gaby.
          Gaby seems to be the sick hater who frequents this site. Seems to hate Palestineans, Iranians and anyone who seems at piece with both these groups.

          Getting a bit of help may bring more peace to your life.

  3. “After all, it was the Obama Administration in which Biden served who took the radically logical step to actually endeavour to negotiate (and successfully, it must be added) with Tehran rather than continuing to treat them fruitlessly as international pariahs.”

    I remember that. The evidence at the time suggested that Obama did that deal so as to get up Netanyahu’s nose. The two were known to detest one another. Remember when Congress invited Netanyahu to speak to a session? Obama was furious about it, but was powerless to prevent it.

    • Maybe Obama simply did not believe the threat of WMD line the Israelis were peddling.

      And the deal did Iran giving up nuclear fuel that results from nuclear power (fuel that can be used for weapons).

  4. “After all, it was the Obama Administration in which Biden served who took the radically logical step to actually endeavour to negotiate (and successfully, it must be added) with Tehran rather than continuing to treat them fruitlessly as international pariahs.”

    I remember that. The evidence at the time suggested that Obama did that deal so as to get up Netanyahu’s nose. The two were known to detest one another. Remember when Congress invited Netanyahu to speak to a session? Obama was furious about it, but was powerless to prevent it.

  5. You discussed that ‘who’ but not so much the ‘why’. So to recap.

    Why An Iranian Nuclear Scientist Was Just Assassinated:

    Because the Iranian regime is a crazy theocracy that would undermine security in the region, including much of southern Europe and North Africa if it had a nuclear weapon. As a result there is a long list of people who are quietly cheering this assassination.

    • Iran is a decade away from nuclear weapon capability – and that is if they were trying to do so.

      It’s the excuse used to apply sanctions to Iran for not recognising Israel.

  6. Israel’s Gift to Joe Biden, War with Iran

    By killing Fakhrizadeh, Israel is doing its best to ensure that, for Biden, that military action is the only viable option available http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/55978.htm

    ” The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is a calculated act on the part of Israel. His death has no real impact on Iran’s nuclear activities – a new generation of Iranian scientists has long since been educated, trained and employed in a program that is far more advanced and mature than the one Fakhrizadeh started more than 20 years ago. Psychologically, however, his murder – carried out in broad daylight in the heart of Iran – has dealt a psychological blow to Tehran’s leadership, once again proving that the long arm of Israeli intelligence can get to just about anyone. “

  7. Why?

    1. Iran will not respond since Biden has been elected and they will want a return to the nuclear deal made with Obama (as does the rest of NATO) this makes it a costless option

    2. If Iran does respond, it makes it more dififcult for Biden to return to the nuclear deal. The cost would then be seen as worth it.

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