Killing Iranian Scientists is Not Terrorism


iran-nuclear-techniciansBy Jonathan S. Tobin

While most of the civilized world is taking grim satisfaction from the news about the latest Iranian nuclear scientist to turn up dead, predictably, the hard left is outraged. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is particularly upset because he recalls that when Glenn Reynolds wrote in 2007 to urge the Bush administration to strike out at the Iranians in this fashion, the suggestion was widely denounced-at least on the left. But though Greenwald is unhappy about the fact that Americans view the possibility their government or its allies are taking out those behind Tehran’s nuclear program, he isn’t shy about labeling it as terrorism. As far as he is concerned, if the U.S. or Israel are behind the killings, then both are “terrorist states” and President Obama may be a “a terrorist, a state sponsor of terrorism or, at the very least, a supporter of terrorism.”

But you need a particular form of moral myopia not to see that heading off a potential second Holocaust in the form of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel or the nuclear blackmail of the rest of the Middle East is not a form of terrorism. Anyone who believes Iran should be allowed to proceed toward the building of a nuclear bomb has either lost their moral compass or is so steeped in the belief that American and Israeli interests are inherently unjustified they have reversed the moral equation in this case. Rather than the alleged U.S. and Israeli covert operators being called terrorists, it is the Iranian scientists who are the criminals. They must be stopped before they kill.
As far as Greenwald is concerned, the fact that we are not currently at war with Iran renders any attacks on those aiding its effort to build a nuclear weapon illegal, if not outright terrorism. It may be that international law may not necessarily deem preemptive strikes to halt an illegal action – such as Iran’s nuclear efforts – as strictly legal. But the question here is whether it is within President Obama’s power under the Constitution to defend the United States and its allies to order operations that would avert a dangerous and possibly catastrophic development such as putting nuclear weapons into the hands of Iran’s ayatollahs. The argument that the United States must sit back and wait to see if the Iranians succeed in achieving their nuclear ambitions ignores the fact that Iran is a rogue state whose own support of international terrorism has placed it outside the law.

Just as we commonly state that democracy is not a suicide pact, neither is international law. States can and must act, sometimes preemptively, to defend their interests as well as the lives of their citizens. The most immoral thing either Barack Obama or Benjamin Netanyahu could do would be to abide by Greenwald’s notion of the legal niceties rather than to act to stop the Islamist state. It is far from clear covert activities such as assassinations of Iranian scientists or computer viruses will be enough to halt the threat. But the alternatives – either acquiescing to a nuclear Iran or contemplating massive military action – are far less palatable and will certainly result in far more bloodshed. Therefore, the targeted killings of those engaged in the development of this terrible threat is the least destructive option open to either the U.S. or Israel.

{Commentary Magazine/ Newscenter}


  1. “But the alternatives – either acquiescing to a nuclear Iran or contemplating massive military action – are far less palatable and will certainly result in far more bloodshed. Therefore, the targeted killings of those engaged in the development of this terrible threat is the least destructive option open to either the U.S. or Israel.”

    Time is reaching a critical juncture. The divine timetable will trump all others. The options mentioned above are not all encompassing. Some thinking outside of the box is required. Further killings of scientists, “Whack a Mole” style and Stuxnet attacks can only ever be stalling tactics. Here are the options re. Iran…

    (a) The Israelis/Americans launch a preventative strike against the nuclear facilities, Osirak fashion. The Iranian public will rally to nationalistic cries and a war will break out in the Middle East, whether via proxies in Syria, Lebanon or via Iranian troops spilling into Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Iranian sleeper cells will also be activated around the world and terrorist acts will be carried out. Pro-Iranian lone terrorists will also be motivated to launch attacks. The Straits of Hormuz will be closed and oil will skyrocket. This will dramatically affect the global economy. Whatever the extent of the war thousands will die. Even if the ratio of dead Israelis and Westerners compared to Iranian losses is 1:100 it will still be a travesty of justice.

    (b) Further sanctions are imposed to squeeze the Iranian leadership clique. The economy in Iran stagnates or collapses. In desperation the Iranians respond with counter measures. Nothing really is solved and the impasse continues. Paint an enemy into too tight a corner and reap the whirlwind.

    (c) Israel and the West allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon and hope for the best. Either the Iranian leadership clique joins the nuclear club in a non-belligerent manner or they are aroused to attack other nations in a pan-Persian/Arab/Muslim plan for regional domination. In either case it goes against the vision presented below. No more new members are needed for the “Missile Envy Club”.

    (d) Supreme efforts are made at employing the sefirotic tools so that diplomacy prevails. The Iranians are persuaded to attend a reconvened NPT conference in Jerusalem on April 23rd, 2012 with all other nations in attendance. A twelve year track for nuclear disarmament is agreed to and followed. A “Committee to Oversee the Dismantlement of Nuclear Weapons by 2025” is established with its HQ in Jerusalem. The IAEA or similar agency is boosted in manpower to facilitate the plan. Even if its budget is $5 Billion p.a., with all nations contributing, it will be worth it. This overarching global “Peace Initiative” becomes the fulcrum/umbrella/pivot/template from which other international co-operation and trust building moves are made. As the right moves are made at the right time and in the right order peace unfolds in the Middle East and the World. Isaiah’s “Swords into Ploughshares” prophecy becomes a reality. It becomes possible to drive on a road from Jerusalem to Tehran by 2019. Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA play off in Group D of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. An Iranian and Israeli compete in a play off for a gold medal at the 2028 Israel/Palestine Olympic Games. Children from 2025 grow up in a world free of the threat of the ultimate weapon of violence hanging over their heads. They applaud the vision, courage and trust building shown by certain people in early 2012.

    Obviously (d) is the divinely mandated scenario. Why is such a biblical scene as this, i.e. two ancient proud nations at loggerheads presenting itself at this time ? Divine intervention peut etre ?

    Which narrative should prevail ?

    Uplifting thermals or a downwardly spiralling satanic vortex ?

    Prayers for the Middle East.

  2. Iranian authorities themselves killed him , they do this whenever they don’t need someone any more or are afraid that he will leak out classified info