Iranian media reports say authorities have recovered the murder weapon used to assassinate Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Moshen Fakrizadeh, and a number of his bodyguards. His wife, who accompanied him, survived the attack.
UPDATE: Though original reports indicated the murder was carried out by gunmen on the ground, the latest from Iran says that the operation was actually completely remote. A remote-controlled machine gun in a car was activated and aimed via Israeli satellite. After the killing was done, the satellite blew up the car remotely as well, presumably to destroy any evidence Iran could use to detect the technical method of execution. As always, Israel innovates ever more ingenious ways to exterminate its enemies. First there were targeted killings; then drone killings; now satellite remote-controlled killings. What next? Robot killing?
Israel is known to have launched numerous spy satellites designed to surveil Iran. But until now they were thought to involve monitoring Iranian nuclear facilities and military capabilities. No one that I know has ever conceived that such satellites could be used to commit remote controlled murder.
This killing should lend urgency to the development of satellite-killers which countries like Iran could use to target such Israeli satellites. They may not (yet) have such capability. But surely they will urgently devote themselves to this given Israel’s technical escalation.
Other security experts have cast doubt on the latest Iranian claims about the killing. This publication devoted to military affairs lays out the ways in which the story could be accurate, while also offering some skepticism.
As the victim and several of his body guards were in an armored car, I don’t understand why the victim exited his car where he was shot. Given that he was both a scientist and highly intelligent person used to high pressure and dangerous situations, this part of the narrative as offered by Iran doesn’t make sense. At least not to me. His wife remained inside and survived.
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As I’m not a munitions expert, I can’t be sure this is the exact weapon used in the murder. But Israeli weapons makers produce weapons matching the description offered by Iranian authorities. And the latter have confirmed the weapon was Israeli-made. Soon we will know if the murder weapon is one and the same. If so, this implicates not only the Mossad and PM Netanyahu in war crimes; but it also implicates one of Israel’s leading weapons manufacturer, its weapons developers and senior executives in such a crime. Israel has become an assassination nation.
An Iranian reporter also posted pictures of the four main accomplices in the operation. If the above report is correct then their likely job was to drive the car to the spot where the killing took place. Then they could have easily escaped. They are likely MeK agents trained, supported and smuggled into the country by the Mossad. Numerous previous reports by Seymour Hersh, former Israeli defense minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, and former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo have each confirmed Mossad-MeK collaboration in these killings. Reports say that Iranian authorities are monitoring their Iraqi Kurdish border, where the escaped killers are likely to make their escape. Israel and its allies in Kurdistan will also be making strenuous efforts to extract them safely after completion of their mission.
Iran estimates that as many as 60 accomplices aided in the murder. They would have included Mossad operatives and MeK agents on the ground. This is comparable to the 27 agents UAE authorities identified as implicated in the assassinated of Mahmoud al Mabouh. It takes a Mossad village to train a killer and an Israeli “terror village” to kill an Iranian scientist.
The dark irony of this murder is that if, or I should say when, Iran retaliates and murders Israelis or Americans as retribution for the murders of Fakrizadeh and Soleimani, the first to raise a geschrei about it will be those very same ones crowing about these Israeli murders. Just remember that. And that they will deserve no consideration because of their foul hypocrisy.
But if by some remote chance, the International Criminal Court takes up cases like this, there will be proper justice done against the architects of these brutal crimes against humanity. Nor do I have any problem with including Islamist groups like ISIS or leaders like Assad as culpable of war crimes. Israel’s aren’t the only crimes, just some of the most egregious and flagrant.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.