Will Biden Condemn the Assassination of an Iranian Scientist?

The top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead on Friday while traveling in Northern Iran. No one took responsibility for the killing, but both the Iranian government and many outside observers point to the likelihood of Israeli involvement, possibly with American assistance. As The New York Times ReportsAn American official – along with two other intelligence officials – said that Israel was behind the attack on the scientist. It was unclear how much the United States might have known in advance of the operation, but the two nations are closest allies and have long shared information about Iran. ”

In a statement on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel and swore vengeance. He also made an interesting page that implied that changes in American politics could be a factor. “This brutal assassination shows that our enemies are going through weeks of fear, weeks in which they feel that their era of pressure is coming to an end and that global conditions are changing,” said Rouhani said. The “fearful weeks” could be an indication of the transition between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In this case, the “pressure era” is an allusion to the hostile policies of heightened sanctions and unconventional military attacks, known as “maximum pressure,” carried out by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Biden has promised to resume the Iranian nuclear deal. It is difficult not to see the Fakhrizadeh assassination as part of a deliberate effort to make an approximation much more difficult. On November 17, more than a week before the murder, the Times reported“Even as a lame duck, President Trump is quick to tighten American sanctions against Iran and to sell advanced weapons to his regional enemies. This policy would be difficult to reverse for a new president. Last week he asked his advisers about options for a military strike against Iran, but it appears that it was advised against. His staff argued that an attack could quickly lead to a major war. “The assassination appears to be a way of achieving some of the objectives of the military strike that the military kept Trump from starting.

Diplomat Dennis Ross, who served under both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton spoke out against the idea that the murder was intended to destroy Biden’s diplomacy. tweet“One can discuss the logic of the Mohsen Fakhrizadeh murder. But to argue that it was done to frustrate the incoming Biden administration ignores reality. Such an operation requires extensive planning, with employees on the ground having actionable information. It can’t be spontaneous. ”

Ross is not very convincing. Of course, such an attack requires a lot of planning. However, the transition from a pre-existing plan to an actual operation can be made relatively quickly. It weighs on credibility to claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a long-time opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal, ignored Biden’s victory.


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