Unidentified persons assassinated the Iranian nuclear scientist Muhsin Fahirzadeh on Friday, November 27, while he was driving his car along a highway near Tehran. However, the victim of the murderous hit, reportedly carried out by a remotely-controlled machine gun placed in the back of an unmanned car, was dubbed by Israel’s security services “the father of the Iranian nuclear program.” Furthermore, in a 2018 press conference, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “marked” the Iranian scientist, advising his audience “Remember this name.”
Following the assassination, a senior Israeli source told the New York Times that Israel would continue to act against the Iranian nuclear program “as needed.” The senior Israeli official, who according to the American newspaper was involved in monitoring the scientist for years, added that Iran’s ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons pose such a great threat that “the world should thank Israel” for the assassination of Fahrizadeh.
US Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent – Vermont), a self-proclaimed socialist and former candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, condemned the liquidation of the Iranian scientist on Twitter: “The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was reckless, provocative, and illegal. As a new administration takes power, it was clearly intended to undermine U.S.-Iran diplomacy. We must not allow that to happen. Diplomacy, not murder, is the best path forward.”
The European Union also denounced the murder, calling it a “criminal act.” An official statement issued by the EU said that “an Iranian government official and several civilians were killed in a series of violent attacks. This is a criminal act and is contrary to the principle of respect for human rights that the EU represents.” The statement added that “the High Representative expresses his condolences to the families of the people killed, wishing a speedy recovery to any person injured. In these uncertain periods, it is more important than ever that all parties remain calm and avoid escalation that is not in anyone’s favor.” The German Foreign Ministry said the assassination of the Iranian scientist would exacerbate tensions in the region and called on countries to exercise restraint. “It is important to maintain an opening for talks ahead of the Biden administration so that the conflict over the nuclear program can be opened through negotiations,” it said. “We call on the parties to refrain from any action that could lead to further aggravation of the situation.”
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) said in the wake of the assassination, “Those who choose assassinations and talk about peace are warmongers. This is the plan of action of outgoing President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Regent Muhammad bin Salman in the remaining months until “the entry of the new president Biden. This dangerous escalation endangers all the peoples of the region.”
The day after the assassination in Iran, the Pentagon announced that it was redeploying the aircraft carrier Nimitz to the Middle East. Washington has made it clear that “it is wise to have additional defensive capabilities in the area to withstand any situation.” However, “any situation” under the moribund Trump administration whose slogan seems to be “Let me die with the Philistines!” (Judges 16:30), who like the biblical Samson intends to bring down the entire house on top of himself and all those around him, could rapidly deteriorate into total war. Who needed this assassination? Who needs such a war? The answer is clearly not the peoples of this region.
The time has come to advance the only prudent and responsible policy capable of liberating many tens of millions of human beings living in the Middle East from the threat of nuclear destruction: the total disarmament of the entire region from these hideous weapons.