On Friday, the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by a team of five masked gunmen. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani uttered the following response blaming Israel: “Once again, the evil hands of global arrogance and the Zionist mercenaries were stained with the blood of an Iranian son.”
Iran has vowed revenge and did not waste time approving raising the limits on uranium enrichment to 20%, the amount that is needed to produce a bomb. Besides this act it is assumed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards or even Hezbollah will strike Israeli civilian targets.
Whether or not, the Mossad in fact carried out the assassination or merely played a logistic role for local dissidents does not matter. Iran has been deeply damaged by the success of this attack. More importantly, the Iranians have now set out on a course where they will have to take the offensive against US and Israeli installations as well as UAE, Bahraini, and Saudi targets.
Iran was hoping to wait out the Trump administration in order to work with the incoming Biden administration. This attack puts that strategy to bed. Even the Biden administration if it succeeds in holding the Electoral College would be hard pressed to convince the American public and US allies in the Middle East that a belligerent Iran can be trusted.
Was This Trump’s Play Before He Leaves?
There is an ongoing assumption that President Trump will attempt to set back the Iranian program by years before if he has to leave office on Jan. 20th. While this assassination clearly helps to achieve those aims, it is President Trump’s reaction to the Iranian payback, which may be meant to set the stage to prevent the Biden Administration from having a chance to revive the JCPOA.
In case you are wondering how different the incoming Biden Administration will be towards Iran as well as Israel – take a look at former CIA Head John Brennan’s statements about the assassination.
What ever the Iranian retaliation, is a 20% hike in uranium enrichment enough to spur both the Israelis and the USA into a potential preemptive strike to ensure that no matter who is inaugurated on Jan. 20th that Iran’s nuclear program is set back for years to come?