• 2020-12-01

    The prevailing assumption in the Israeli and international media, and among governments around the world, is that the assassination of the head of Iran’s military nuclear project, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was carried out by Israel. If so, the costs and benefits of the assassination from Israel’s vantage point should be examined and weighed. To this end, certain questions must be answered: What was the strategic purpose of this action, and what is the likelihood of its ultimate success? In light of this goal, was the timing of the action correct? And finally, are the potential costs greater or smaller than the expected benefit? This article concludes that in the case of the killing of Fakhrizadeh, it is doubtful that the benefits outweigh the costs, and unclear that the assassination will substantially serve the goal of damaging and delaying the Iranian nuclear program.

  • 2020-12-01

    In the weeks remaining before Joe Biden’s inauguration, Donald Trump is taking actions — including aiding and abetting murder — to prevent his successor from pursuing diplomacy with Iran.

  • 2020-12-01

    Many major powers around the world and in the Middle East denounced the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading Iranian nuclear scientist on November 27. Five of the six world powers that brokered the 2015 nuclear deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – rebuked the murder and urged an immediate de-escalation of tensions to avoid a regional conflict. The United States, the sixth and most important negotiator, had no comment; Trump pulled out of the deal in 2015. On December 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “Israel is a key partner, and not a problem” when it comes to countering Iran. But he did not elaborate. A senior U.S. administration official told CNN that Israel was behind the assassination. 

  • 2020-12-01

    We now read that the Fakhrizadeh murder may have fatally sabotaged President-elect Biden’s plans to restore the U.S. to the 2015 accord governing Iran’s nuclear programs, which President Donald Trump abandoned a year into his term. How does that work?  If Biden and his new advisers — Antony Blinken at State, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser — are serious about diplomacy with Tehran, now is the time to go full-tilt for it, wouldn’t you say? Gentlemen, mount those white horses. In the same piece presenting the weird argument about the damage just inflicted on Biden’s diplomatic aspirations, Sullivan is quoted as saying the U.S. will return to the accord “if Iran returns to compliance, for its obligations that it has been violating, and is prepared to advance good-faith negotiations on these follow-on agreements.” The “follow-on agreements” seem to be those Trump and Pompeo have insisted upon — no missile-defense systems, no efforts to secure its neighborhood, the latter mischaracterized as “acts of terror.” Let me get this straight: We’re here to correct the Trump regime’s mistakes, and we propose to do so by embracing them?  These people are simply not serious. My tentative conclusion: Biden, Blinken and Sullivan cannot see their way to recommitting to the 2015 agreement because Biden is inexcusably close to Israel and Israel has stated its opposition to this in the clearest of terms. For the time being, it looks as if they will take cover in the Fakhrizadeh murder as they slither out the side door on Iran: Golly, we wanted to talk to Tehran but events have foiled us. Shall we mark this down as Foreign Policy Failure No. 1 for our “responsible American leadership?” We will have to keep track as the numbers rise.

  • 2020-12-01

    The Iranian media expressed outraged at the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading nuclear scientist. Newspapers from across the political spectrum – reformist, centrist, conservative and hardline – published front-page photos of his bullet-riddled car and funeral casket.    

  • 2020-11-30

    On November 27, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent nuclear scientist, was assassinated in a roadside attack about 40 miles east of Tehran. Western and Israeli intelligence had long suspected that Fakhrizadeh was the father of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program. He was often compared to J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the American atomic bomb. He kept a low profile for most of his career. His name was not widely known even in Iran until he was sanctioned by the United Nations in 2007 and the United States in 2008. 

  • 2020-11-30

    Iran vowed retaliation for the killing of a prominent nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was shot to death near Tehran on November 27. Senior national security officials blamed Israel and Iranian opposition groups for orchestrating the alleged assassination. They labelled the killing as state-sponsored terrorism and demanded that the international community condemn the perpetrators.

  • 2020-11-29

    With the assassination presumably by Israel of Iran’s top nuclear warhead designer, the Middle East is promising to complicate Joe Biden’s job from Day 1. President-elect Biden knows the region well, but if I had one piece of advice for him, it would be this: This is not the Middle East you left four years ago. With the assassination presumably by Israel of Iran’s top nuclear warhead designer, the Middle East is promising to complicate Joe Biden’s job from Day 1. President-elect Biden knows the region well, but if I had one piece of advice for him, it would be this: This is not the Middle East you left four years ago. They were right. The Middle East was reshaped by this Iranian precision missile strike, by President Trump’s response and by the response of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to Trump’s response.

  • 2020-11-28

    The killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist is likely to impede the country’s military ambitions. Its real purpose may have been to prevent the president-elect from resuming diplomacy with Tehran.

  • 2020-11-15

    In a statement released on Saturday, the Hamzeh Seyed al-Shohada Base said the IRGC’s ground forces had targeted the positions of counter-revolutionary outfits and inflicted heavy damage and casualties on them. [...]  In recent years, Iranian border guards have on many occasions engaged terrorists who attempted to cross the frontier and carry out attacks. Such confrontations are not rare in West Azarbaijan Province, which borders Iraq and Turkey. The area has seen occasional fighting between Iranian forces and PJAK terrorists as well as militants linked to the Daesh group. In July, Iran said terrorists had killed two people and wounded a third person in an attack in Iran’s province of Kurdistan, to the south of West Azarbaijan. In June, Iran attacked bases of PJAK terrorists in northern Iraq.“

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