Killing of nuclear scientist in Tehran heightens threat to American’s life — says ‘Washington Post’ Iran bureau chief

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American Amir Mirzai Hekmati has been sentenced to death in Iran

Does the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist on the streets of Tehran earlier today endanger a former Marine who was lately convicted in Tehran of spying? Even the Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, Thomas Erdbrink, is reporting that it does.

And if it turns out that Israel killed that scientist, as its officials have hinted triumphantly, what does this mean about the danger to American lives flowing from Israeli militarism? What does this say about Israel’s concern for American lives?

Maybe most important: What does this killing do to international efforts to try and cool the Iranian issue before it boils over? Did Israel just spike those efforts? 

Amir Mizra Hekmati
Amir Mirzai Hekmati

Let’s walk the cat back:

Two days back, Iran convicted former Marine Amir Mirzai Hekmati of spying; and Hekmati was promptly sentenced to death. Here is Post bureau chief Thomas Erdbrink reporting from Tehran:

In a preliminary ruling, Iran’s revolutionary courts convicted American Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death, the Fars news agency reported Monday.

Then today that Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a car bomb on the streets of Tehran. It was all over the news tonight. The US rushed to condemn the killing:

The United States on Wednesday forcefully condemned a car bomb attack that killed an Iranian nuclear expert in Tehran–while just as firmly repudiating any suggestion that U.S. operatives might have taken part in the assassination.

Are the Iranians buying this? This is Washington Post bureau chief Erdbrink’s twitter feed from earlier tonight:

bad news for , the US marine who was handed down a death sentence in#iran, hardliners say assassination shows he deserves to die


See reaction here by hardliner Taraghi in second page of piece: “Certainly deserves the death sentence”

Now here’s Israel hinting that it killed the Iranian scientist:

a throwaway comment by Israel’s military chief has hinted of possible Israeli involvement in attacks like the explosion that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist Wednesday.

And even gleeful:

”I don’t know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear,” Israeli military spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai wrote on his official Facebook page.

How is Barack Obama feeling about the special relationship tonight? Secretary Clinton? The family of Amir Hekmati?

Most important, as my tipster points out to me: “Here we are at the brink of a war that we’re told will be necessary for the US to wage because of the ‘threat to the U.S. and its allies’ — or in Republican parlance ‘threat to the US and its ally Israel’ — and we had an off ramp: the Iranians, under pressure, appeared to be ready to talk turkey over the nuke crisis. So: We’re about to make a push to avert regional conflagration. And this happens?”

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And on Tuesday, merely the day before, Benny Gantz “predicted” unnatural events in Iran:

Remember the joke about the frog and the scorpion in the Middle East? Scorpion gets a ride across the lake on the frog’s back upon his assurance that he will not sting him. Half-way across, the scorpion stings the frog. Just before they both drown, the frog asks him why.… Read more »

As someone trained in physical sciences (PhD in physical chemistry from Berkeley who understands many of the engineering problems with building a bomb — the science itself is textbook trivial) I do not approve of these precedents. The first Iranian “nuclear expert” that was assassinated last year was someone who… Read more »

Who do they (america/Israel) think they’re fooling!? The multiple explosions at Iranian military sites, the stuxnet computer viruses, spy drones “malfunctioning” on Iranian sole, the murder of 4 nuclear scientists and attempted murder of another. These are all acts of war against a country who hasnt threatened a soul (until… Read more »

how can the secretary of state say that america had nothing to do with this latest assassination? didn’t israel essentially own up to it? and isn’t israel the tail that wags the dog, er, america’s closest ally? whether or not our government had advance knowledge of what israel was going… Read more »