Scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a deputy director of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, was murdered on Wednesday when a pair of men riding a motorcycle attached a magnetic explosive device to the side of his car. The driver and a bodyguard were also killed in the attack, according to news reports. And at least two bystanders were injured.
But Roshan, 32, is hardly the first Iranian expert in the field to be eliminated. In the last two years, several other scientists associated with Iran’s controversial nuclear program have also been murdered in similar circumstances. And the death toll is expected to continue rising.
Iranian officials blasted the attack, pointing the finger at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli Mossad. Iran also vowed to continue pursuing its nuclear program — which the Islamic regime insists is only for peaceful purposes — despite increasing Western pressure aimed at disrupting its alleged pursuit of atomic weapons.
"Based on the existing evidence collected by the relevant Iranian security authorities, similar to previous incidents, perpetrators used the same terrorist method in assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists,” said Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee, lashing out at the "cruel, inhumane and criminal acts of terrorism against the Iranian scientists."
Khazaee said the Islamic Republic would not compromise on its “inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” And no outside pressure — including terrorist attacks — will prevent Iran from developing its atomic program, he added.
Other Iranian officials and lawmakers echoed the sentiment, vowing to ramp up the nuclear program and blaming “Zionist” terrorists for the attack. But U.S. and Israeli authorities have not admitted responsibility.
"The United States had absolutely nothing to do with this,” U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters. “We strongly condemn all acts of violence, including acts of violence like this."
Meanwhile, the State Department expressed sympathy for the victim’s family in a statement and said it condemned any assassination or attack on an innocent person. Asked about whether the U.S. or Israeli governments were responsible, a spokesperson said she did not have any information to share. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later “categorically” denied any U.S. involvement in the murder.
Israeli officials, however, were far less direct. "I don't know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear," said Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai in a widely cited post on Facebook.
Some analysts said the assassination may have been carried out by the Marxist terror group known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which aims to overthrow the Iranian government. Despite being listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization, the group continues to receive open and covert support from Western powers and influential leaders.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it every time something like this happens: assassinations like the one today accomplish nothing,” noted left-wing Jewish analyst Richard Silverstein, who, citing sources in Israel, reported that the attack was indeed carried out by the MEK with backing from the Israeli Mossad. “These are shameful acts by a shameful Israeli government exploiting Iranian terrorists for their own ends. I find it disgusting that Israel can get away with such acts with impunity.”
Emphasizing that he did not support Iran’s nuclear program, Silverstein said murdering scientists would not hurt the nation’s atomic program or deter other Iranian experts from pursuing their research. He also condemned assassination as a “state policy” and took the opportunity to blast President Obama’s unlawful murder schemes as well.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is currently on an official tour of Latin America, where he has met with several despots including Venezuela’s socialist leader Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s communist dictator Raul Castro. Meanwhile, international pressure on Iran continues to build.
Tensions between the Iranian regime and Western governments were already boiling before Wednesday’s attack. And as the West continues to pile on more sanctions while making veiled threats of an impending military showdown, officials in Iran are conducting “war games” and promising to shut down the critical Strait of Hormuz if the belligerence does not stop.
Perhaps ironically, the U.S. government has been indirectly assisting the Iranian regime in its quest for nuclear technology. As The New American reported recently, the Bush administration offered technology and know-how to various Iran-friendly regimes. And then-CNN anchor Lou Dobbs noted years ago that the U.S. government was funding an institute in Russia that was helping Tehran develop its nuclear capabilities.
So far, no concrete evidence has emerged to demonstrate that Iran is indeed seeking to build an atomic weapon. But countless analysts and experts believe the regime is pursuing nuclear missiles — at least to act as a deterrent against the increasingly frequent “regime change” missions in the region undertaken by Western powers.
Top Israeli officials have stated unequivocally that a nuclear-armed Iran would not pose any sort of “existential threat” to the Jewish state, which is known to possess hundreds of atomic weapons. But in the United States, Israel, and other Western nations, the war drums continue to be banged louder and louder despite warnings from across the globe that a military conflict would be devastating to all parties involved.
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