Iran, the world and the general

December 01, 2020
Tariq Al-Homayed

IRANIAN nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the mastermind of Iran’s clandestine nuclear program, was killed in an ambush near the capital city of Tehran, in a strikingly similar way Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was assassinated in Baghdad earlier this year.

Soleimani was considered to be a symbol of “exporting the revolution” to the region while Fakhrizadeh was a symbol of the Iranian nuclear project, and the world did not know him clearly until a report on him was published in 2015.

That year, Fakhrizadeh was the only Iranian scientist named in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2015 “final assessment” of open questions about Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA report said at the time that he oversaw activities “in support of a possible military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Fakhrizadeh was a pivotal figure in a presentation made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018 when he accused Iran of continuing to pursue nuclear weapons. At the same time, Netanyahu said: “Remember this name, Fakhrizadeh,” while showing a rare photo of him.

The question now is, will the killing of this scientist trigger a confrontation in the region, and that is in the final weeks of the presidency of Donald Trump, who ordered the killing of Soleimani earlier? Will Joe Biden, the new resident of the White House, face the reality of a real crisis in the Middle East region?

It is true that Iran was quick to accuse Israel of killing its scientist, but nothing has come out of Israel until the time of writing this article. However, the usual Iranian response comes through its agents targeting American interests in the region. As a matter of fact, Iran had never targeted Israel despite all the Israeli operations against it, both declared and undeclared ones, as well as those that took place outside the Iranian territories, such as those in Syria.

Despite President Trump’s administration continued maximum pressure campaign against Iran, Tehran has tried to deal with Washington through what can be called painful patience, and Iran ignores the response to what is known as the Israeli shadow war against it.

However, the killing of the Iranian scientist is an addition to the successive blows that Iran receives internally, and these included targeting a center of its nuclear facilities and what is related to it, as well as the assassinations that take place on its soil, including even the assassination of the Al-Qaeda second man in Iran. All of them have become painful and embarrassing for Tehran internally, and even for its followers and clients in the region.

It is true that Iran is awaiting the departure of President Trump after a few weeks, but the question to the Iranians is, what about Israel? The truth is that there are no easy options for Iran now or in the future, especially regarding its nuclear project, which represents a matter of life or death as far as Israel is concerned.

Therefore, the coming weeks will be critical and crucial for the region as a whole. Iran plans more patience and Israel wants to make the most of the transition period. And so the danger is when and how the crisis will erupt!

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