The Killer Robot: Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

The act of deliberately killing a prominent person is called Assassination. Iran has observed the assassination of its nuclear scientists before. Between 2010 and 2012, four Iranian nuclear scientists who were Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan were assassinated, while Fereydoon Abbasi was wounded in an attempted murder. Recently Iran’s senior-most nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated which created havoc in the country. Who was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh? One of the most prominent scientists of Iran, Fakhrizadeh was also a member of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and has been compared by The New York Times to J Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist who was the director of the Los Alamos laboratory during the development of the world’s first atomic weapons. According to the BBC, he was a “key player” – something that Israel has alleged in the past – especially since Iran started breaching its nuclear deal commitments. How was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated? As per Iran’s FARS news agency, Fakhrizadeh’s car was targeted by an explosion and machine gun in Absard, which is located about 40 km east of Tehran. As per the agency, about three to four individuals were killed in the attack and they were “most likely all terrorists”. A statement released by Iran’s Defence Ministry said that in the shootout between Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards and the terrorists, the scientist was seriously wounded and taken to hospital. The claims made about the attack being carried out using such a sophisticated high-tech weapon are as alarming as they are dystopian.

Who killed Mohsen Fakhrizadeh? It is not clear yet, but the suspicion immediately fell on Israel, which has been widely held responsible for assassinating several Iranian nuclear scientists early last decade. The assassination of Fakhrizadeh appears to be part of a larger Israeli plan in conjunction with Saudi Arabia to force the U.S. into taking military action against Iran. Fakhrizadeh’s assassination creates a win-win situation for Israel. If the Iranian government launches revenge attacks on Israeli targets or those of America’s Arab allies, Mr Netanyahu would be able to persuade the U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. If Iran shows restraint, Israel would have shown up the Iranian regime as weak while augmenting anti-American feelings in the country that would make it difficult for the Biden administration to resume negotiations with Tehran on reviving Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Either way, the fallout of the assassination, while benefiting Israel, will add to the instability in the region. Mr Biden will have to decide if Israel has become an albatross around the U.S.’s neck, forcing it to adopt policies and undertake actions that run counter to its more extensive interests in West Asia. The failure to apprehend Mr Fakhrizadeh’s killers has compounded a scandal over the government’s failure to prevent the assassination itself. Iranian officials have vowed to avenge the killing of the scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a high-ranking official in the Defense Ministry. Now the question is, what would Iran do if it wants to avenge the death of Fakhrizadeh? In recent months, Iran has come under tremendous pressure as U.S. sanctions wrecked its already bleeding economy, Israeli covert and overt operations raised questions about the efficacy of its security apparatus and regional realignments posed new geopolitical risks. It lost a master strategist when Soleimani was killed. Iran faces a growing dilemma. If it doesn’t retaliate in the wake of repeated provocations, there would be questions, both inside and outside the country, about its ability to protect the regime’s top leaders or take counter-measures against what it calls “terrorism” of its sworn enemies. On the off chance that it makes any huge retaliatory strides, it could raise the contention, giving space to Israel and the Trump organization to make quick military strides, which would remove the strategic way for Mr Biden to take the U.S. back to the atomic arrangement.

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