Germany’s left-leaning Der Spiegel has a long report on the recent murders of Iran nuclear scientists. When asked about the killing of Darioush Rezaei on July 23, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “Israel is not responding.” Not what you would call a solid denial.
So far there have been three Iranian nuclear physicists who have paid for their job with their lives since 2010. According to Der Spiegel, the assassinations are seen as an alternative (for now) of direct military action. A excerpt:
According to sources in Israeli intelligence, the killings are part of a campaign to sabotage, or at least slow down, Iran’s nuclear program. The alleged campaign also involves other tactics as well as targeted assassinations. The cyber-attack using the Stuxnet computer virus, which paralyzed large parts of the Iranian nuclear program in the summer of 2010, is supposedly also part of Israel’s secret campaign against Iran.
But for hardliners in the Israeli military, the covert action does not go far enough. The calls for bombing Iran are getting louder and louder, especially among Israeli Air Force officers, the informant told SPIEGEL ONLINE. There is apparently a heated debate about the effectiveness of such assassination campaigns and whether they can fulfill their goal, reported Yossi Melman, intelligence expert at the Israeli daily Haaretz. In addition, Israel has already faced fierce criticism over other assassinationsallegedly committed by its agents in foreign countries.
Until now, Mossad experts have been able to convince decision-makers that the construction of an Iranian bomb can best be delayed through attacks on key figures and nuclear facilities. But it is unclear how long Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to follow this advice. Politicians in Jerusalem know well that Mossad is also pursuing its own interests when it argues that its agents should play the leading role in the struggle against Iran.
“As long as Mossad is leading the fight against the bomb, it will get the big budgets,” said the source. Whether there will be an open attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the future will partly depend on whether the Israeli military or intelligence wins the internal power struggle, the source said. “Just like with everything, this is also about prestige.”
The full article is here.