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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/17/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Israel has a tradition of using assassination to destroy enemies.

Iran's nuclear scientists must not look forward to their commutes. Over the past two years, five scientists working on Iran's nuclear program have been attacked and four killed. Last Wednesday, nuclear scientist Mustafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, became the latest victim.

Mustafa Roshan was most likely killed by Mossad in an effort to slow Iran's nuclear program.

Mustafa Roshan was most likely killed by Mossad in an effort to slow Iran's nuclear program.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/17/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Israel, Iran, nuclear, Mustafa Roshan


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There's little question as to why Roshan was assassinated. As a researcher working on Israel's nuclear program, a program widely believed to be aimed at the development of nuclear weapons, he was an important figure. His death will serve to dissuade others from working as well as dissuade the Iranian government from pursuing clandestine nuclear research.

It may also be a means of preventing a much larger conflict.

The great remaining mystery isn't the why, but the who. Who was responsible for the killing of Roshan? And who was been behind the killings of three other Iranian scientists? The most likely answer is Israel.

The Israeli government has practiced assassination of high-profile targets since 1948. Israel is a small country, but it has a formidable military. Still, it's military force is largely defensive in nature. Because Israel is surrounded by potential enemies, overt military action carries substantial political risk. However, the Israelis have long balanced the odds with the effective use of their intelligence services.

Israel's spy agency, the Mossad, is widely regarded to be the best in the world. And they are very good at assassinations.

There is little question that Roshan's assassination was a complex undertaking that was carefully and skillfully planned. The assassination itself took mere seconds. As Roshan waited for his chauffeur (and bodyguard) to drive him to work, a masked man on a motorcycle sped between the lanes of traffic to his car. Witnesses report that the assassin looked into the window to verify that Roshan was the passenger. He then attached an explosive device to the vehicle and sped away.

Just nine seconds later, the bomb detonated killing Roshan instantly. His bodyguard died shortly thereafter in a hospital. The assassin was never apprehended.

Iran was quick to blame Israel and the United States for the attack, but the US swiftly disavowed any involvement. While the US is firmly set against Iran's nuclear ambitions, the government has preferred to use strong sanctions and clandestine observation to stop Iran from developing its nuclear technology.

However, Israel has a history of performing assassinations and the very strong motive to stay the course. The Israelis believe that if Iran should develop a nuclear weapon, they will be the primary target of that country's anger.

While Iran claims its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, and has enjoyed support from both Russia and China, the Western powers have stated publicly that they will not permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon. It is widely believed that their nuclear research facilities, many of which are built in secret underground locations to withstand attack, are not peaceful at all.

The United Nations has attempted to intervene and continues to monitor Iran's progress, but inspectors have repeatedly complained that the Iranians have been uncooperative, and that they have not been truthful and forthright in answering the inspectors questions. This leads many to believe that Iran is guilty as charged by the West.

So now the question remains, how long before Iran develops a nuclear weapon, and can the Western powers slow or at least prevent its development?

Sanctions are certainly having an effect on the Iranian economy, but it is unclear whether they are significantly slowing down Iran's nuclear research program. If evidence should surface that Iran is close to completing a nuclear weapon, Israel, and possibly the United States, will almost certainly conduct a military strike against Iran. Such a strike will lead to war.

So the alternative appears to be a program of assassination. Perhaps, it is hoped, that if Mossad targets enough of the nuclear scientists, they can slow and possibly even stop all meaningful progress towards a nuclear weapon. However, given the patriotic and fundamentalist fervor that still resides at the highest levels of that country's government, abandonment of the program remains highly unlikely -- no matter how many scientists die.

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