In January of this year, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, one of the leading scientists of Iran’s major uranium-enrichment facility, was assassinated.
Two years earlier, Majid Shariari, a senior Iranian nuclear scientist was killed when a bomb was left by a motorcyclist at the side of a car in North Tehran’s Aghdasieh district.
That attack had echoed a previous attack which had taken place in January 2010, when Iranian particle physicist, Masoud Alimohammadi was killed in north Tehran by a bomb strapped to a motorbike. A total of five Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years. (1)
On July 6 of this year, the Iranian spy chief, Heidar Moslehi, accused the intelligence services of multiple nations to be conspiring in aggressive tactics aimed at disrupting Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.
Numerous Nations at Work in Iran Assassinations
Previous to Moslehi’s recent statement, Iran had blamed the U.K, U.S. and Israel for the deaths of the five nuclear scientists, but now Iran has implicated German and French intelligence services as well.
“The recently dismantled networks of assassination and bombing were in co-ordination with main services,” Moslehi said in the statement, continuing, “France, Germany, Israeli’s Mossad, CIA, M16 and all regional served each other.” (2)
The CIA report goes on to state that both the U.K and the U.S have denied any involvement with the killings of the five Iranian nuclear scientists, whilst Israel has yet to comment.
There is a general agreement that the allegations made by Iran are likely to aggravate strain between both Israel and Iran and the West and Iran, but will the alleged intelligence aggression spark a war?
American author Larry Everest, who has covered the Middle East and Central Asia politics for more than 20 years, is one thinker that does believe that aggression against Iran is increasing the danger of a U.S-Israeli war against Iran. In an article titled, “Danger of War Grows”, Everest talks about these dangers of war mounting.
“The danger of a U.S.-Israeli war on Iran is escalating rapidly. The U.S. and its allies are ramping up their all-round assault on Iran, including new crippling sanctions, and openly threatening to attack. Ground is being laid daily in the headlines and statements by politicians of every stripe in mainstream U.S politics calling for aggression against Iran – all justified by unsubstantiated assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.” (3)
Everest refers to the ‘unsubstantiated’ claims that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons makes it difficult to point the blame for the common killings of the five Iranian nuclear experts at anyone other than Israeli or U.S. intelligence.
Israel at the Center of Assassinations
Echoing this sentiment is a new book that claims Israeli’s intelligence agency posted assassins into Iran to kill the country’s leading nuclear scientists as part of Israel’s campaign to disrupt Iran’s nuclear programme.
In their book “Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars”, co-authors, Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman, claim that Israeli operatives have killed at least four nuclear experts in Iran, by targeting with individuals on motorcycles, an assassination technique that is exploited by Israeli intelligence, the Mossad. (4)
The recent murders of the nuclear scientists are part of a ‘series of regular missions deep inside Iran’, which are aimed at preventing Iran from creating nuclear weapons, according to the Washington Post. (4)
In an interview with the Washington Post, co-author Raviv, talked about how the Iranian scientist assassinations had not only successfully disrupted the nuclear programme of Iran, but they have also put other leading nuclear experts and scholars off from joining the programme. (4)
Of course, the high-profile killings of the five scientists is not the only so-called “aggressive intelligence” tactic being pinned on Israel’s attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear programme. “Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars” also refers to the 2010 Stuxnet virus attack that had damaging consequences on the control systems of centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear plant.
Although the cyber attack is widely believed to be the result of joint cooperation between Israel and the U.S., according to Melman, it was the “brainchild of Israel’s military”, intelligence agency Aman and Unit 8200, and was “endorsed by the White House at Israel’s suggestion.” (4)
Tensions Continue to Build
The consequences of these aggressive intelligent attacks against Iran could no doubt have devastating consequences by intensifying tensions between Iran and Israel and Iran and the West.
As Cliff Kupchan, an analyst at Eurasia Group in Washington, in response how the Stuxnet virus of 2010 would affect Iran and U.S. negotiations, told the FT Times:
“The major barrier to any breakthrough in the talks has been the profound lack of trust between the U.S. and Iran. This description is not a game-changer, but it adds to the existing serious obstacles.” (5)
Aggressive intelligence intervention against Iran, including the murder of five nuclear scientists as they went about their daily lives – no matter how trumped up claims are that it is justifiable, is inevitably going to worsen an already highly volatile situation, and is almost certain to spark some sort of counter-action.
I asked Larry Everest if he would share his thoughts with TSW regarding whether this aggressive Israeli intelligence against Iran would spark a war. Larry told Top Secret Writers that antagonistic approaches employed by Israel are not the ‘driving cause’ of the danger of war.
“I am very concerned about the danger of war,” Larry Everest told TSW, continuing, “But Israeli intelligence aggression – while real – is not the fundamental and driving cause of this danger. I situate that in the US-Israeli drive (with the US the dominant player) to maintain their regional hegemony and in that quest are driven to attempt to cripple or topple the Islamic Republic. Having said that, one or another provocative and aggressive act by the US and/or Israel could spark escalation and trigger war.”
References & Image Credits:
(1) The Guardian
(2) CBS News
(3) Revcom US
(4) Washington Post
(5) Financial Times