Iran: another nuclear scientist assassinated as uranium enrichment begins

In what Iran called a “terrorist act,” nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed when an unidentified motorcyclist attached a magnetic explosive to his car Jan. 10. Rosha was a department supervisor at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. He is the third man identified as a nuclear scientist to be killed in Iran in a mysterious explosion in the past two years. A fourth survived an assassination attempt. The survivor, Fereydoon Abbasi, is now the head Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. In a statement quoted by Reuters, the organization said: “America and Israel’s heinous act will not change the course of the Iranian nation.” Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

However, even Tehran’s traditional supporter Russia issued a statement expressing reservations about the uranium enrichment program just launched at the underground Fordow facility near Qom, pointing out that enriching to 20%—although publicly announced to the International Atomic Energy Agency months in advance—is beyond what is needed for civilian purposes. “We hope that Tehran will listen to our opinion about the need for a further close cooperation with the agency and a quick start of serious six-way talks on the Iranian nuclear program without any preconditions,” Moscow’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Tehran is breaking its international commitments and displaying a “blatant disregard for its responsibilities.” She said “there is no plausible justification” to enrich to 20%, and that the step brings Iran closer to nuclear weapons capacity. She denied that the US had any role in the death of Roshan. On New Year’s Eve, President Barack Obama signed into law by far the toughest sanctions yet against Iran, which if fully implemented could make it impossible for most countries to pay for Iranian oil. The EU, which still buys a fifth of Iran’s 2.6 million barrels per day of exports, is considering an embargo. (AP, Reuters, NYT, CNN, Time, Jan. 11)

See our last posts on Iran and nuclear fear.

  1. It’s neither fair nor right to kill another nation’s scientist.
    Another scientist is killed and again the United States along with Israel are deemed to be the ones that killed him — to slow Iran from building an atomic bomb.
    Not even Russia had gone that far during the cold war. Neither had we — until now.
    Yet our presidential candidates advocate that we “take out” more Iranian scientists, “all of it covertly, all of it deniable.”
    Surprisingly, few people raised an eyebrow to this newly articulated expediency in international affairs.
    Is no one concerned that the victims might have wives and children; mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers? Or that these scientists had committed no crime or terrorist act to justify us killing them?
    To be sure, expediency has no moral code. Its only rule is to reach an end, by any means. Those who regularly resort to expediency must therefore regularly also compromise their moral compass — the guide they will need to find their way out of the next storm. When that storm comes it will find them morally bankrupt and at loss as to what to do.
    Still, they see no risk in being in this position. That’s fine.
    We, however, are a God fearing nation, conceived out of a universal sense for fairness.
    There is nothing fair or right about killing another nation’s scientists.