Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not-so-covert Iran war buys West time, raises tension

LONDON: A backseat passenger on a motorcycle weaving through the crush of Tehran's morning traffic reaches out and places a small magnetic device on the door of a silver-grey Peugeot 405.

When the directional bomb explodes seconds later, blasting through the sedan's door and instantly killing nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a 32-year-old father of one, the motorcycle has already vanished, accelerating into the ranks of the Iranian capital's rush hour.

The proficiency of the latest assassination to deplete Iran's community of atom specialists suggests that violent actions by one or more of Iran's adversaries form an increasingly active - and public - element in a multifaceted international drive to impede Iran's nuclear program.

Some old espionage hands voice respect for the expert landing of clandestine, deniable blows against a program the West suspects is aimed at acquiring a nuclear bomb capability and Iran says is for civilian purposes.

"Ten out of 10. They hit the target and nobody got caught," former U.S. intelligence officer Robert Ayers told Reuters of the January 11 killing. Read More