Iran

01.11.12

Who is Killing Iran's Bomb-Makers?

I'll confess that I have successfully restrained my grief over the mysterious deaths of now three Iranian nuclear scientists.

I wonder though about the ready assumption that the US or Israel must be responsible for the killings.

Since 1979, Iran has committed or sponsored acts of terrorism on the soil of a long list of European, Middle Eastern, and Western Hemisphere nations. There are many countries to whom Iran owes a blood debt, many countries that would regard an Iranian bomb as a deadly threat.

While the computer viruses that have hobbled Iranian nuclear facilities do seem the work of a technologically advanced nation state, there are many potential authors of the rougher attacks. Who knows? It could for once even be the work of those favored villains of the movies: Russian mercenaries in the pay of shadowy oil sheikhs.

It also should not be forgotten that this Iranian regime has made many enemies at home, including disaffected ethnic and religious minorities (only about half the population of Iranian are Shia Persians); oppressed educated urbanites; and independent businessmen squeezed by the collapse in value of the Iranian currency.

Analysis of these killings is a little like Agatha Christie's murder on the Orient Express: the target has made himself so dangerous to so many people that almost anybody in the carriage could be the culprit—and perhaps to some degree or another, everybody in the carriage is.