Israeli Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientists Intended to Precipitate War

          Every war has a trigger that frequently is seen as a contrivance after the event.  The Gulf of Tonkin “attacks”, which were largely a response to American and South Vietnamese provocation are a case in point.  The missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  In war, truth is the first casualty.

            In the history of atomic power, it has been the scientists themselves who have taken the lead to prevent its use in war.  Joseph Rotblat, a scientist on the Manhattan project, quit as soon as it became apparent that Germany had not developed an atomic bomb.  Many of the scientists and mathematicians who worked in Los Alamos only signed up because of their fear that Germany might build the bomb first.

            On July 9, 1955, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein issued the following manifesto: WE invite this Congress, and through it the scientists of the world and the general public, to subscribe to the following resolution:

·         "In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them."


Max Born

Percy W. Bridgman

Albert Einstein

Leopold Infeld

Frederic Joliot-Curie

Herman J. Muller

Linus Pauling

Cecil F. Powell

Joseph Rotblat

Bertrand Russell

Hideki Yukawa


Subsequently, these scientists founded the Pugwash Conference, devoted to the prevention of nuclear war.  It was their efforts to educate the public about the dangers of nuclear war and radiation that led to the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty that was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in June, 1963.


In every county, it was the atomic scientists who took the lead in opposing the use of nuclear arms, even though they were all accused of treason.  Robert Oppenheimer in the United States, Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union, Morechai Vanunu (who spent 18 years in jail and was kidnapped from London) in Israel, all paid huge personal prices to oppose the belligerent nuclear policies of their governments.  In a certain sense, they were the only ones who could do it, because they really understood the technology of atomic power, while the politicians, whether religious fanatics or political theorists or lawyers, are generally scientific ignoramuses.  It was hard for a Khrushchev or an Eisenhower to argue with the people who actually built the bombs.


So, seeing as the people most likely to exert a moderating influence on the Iranian nuclear weapons program are the Iranian nuclear scientists themselves (most nuclear scientists have difficulty being religious fanatics) the only real purpose of assassinating the scientists is not to prevent Iran from pursuing a nuclear bomb, but to strengthen the hand of the Mullahs in the internal politics of Iran, in hopes they will make a mistake that will force the United States to attack.  This is a dangerous and cynical game.  By attacking the scientists, the instruments, instead of the policy makers, any scientist who advocates moderation or opposes the construction of a bomb (as Oppenheimer did the hydrogen bomb) can and will be painted as an agent of Israel and a traitor to Iran.  So, far from seeking to halt Iran’s nuclear program, Israel is seeking to goad it into continuing to provide a pretext for a war of regime change.  If the Iranians were smart, they would eschew nuclear weapons and train all their missiles on the Dimona nuclear complex in Israel.  Possessing nuclear weapons and reactors is more dangerous to the possessor than to its enemies.  Chernobyl was the biggest nuclear explosion in history, and it wasn’t even a bomb.  Every nuclear reactor in the world is a potential bomb, able to be triggered by conventional explosives.


It is important to remember that while both Israel and Iran are fundamentalist religious states, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while Israel has not.  Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon, while Israel has an arsenal estimated at 200 warheads. When Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1967, Israel said that blockade was and act of war.  So, the pressures being brought to bear on nations not to buy Iranian oil, the attempt to seize Iranian central bank funds frozen in New York, is an attempt to impose the reality of a blockade without the formality in order to goad Iran into providing an excuse for the United States and Israel to attack it. The truth is that the Iraq War was a catastrophe for Israel.  One of Iran’s main objectives in the 1980 – 1988 Iran – Iraq War was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.  Like the overthrow of Diem in South Vietnam in 1963, it was another spectacular own goal based on American ignorance of the historic facts of the situation.  The United States and Israel are trying to undo the damage of the Iraq war by attacking Iran.  Ambrose Bierce once said that: “War is God’s Way of Teaching Americans Geography.” Also, Iran supplied Israel with its oil in the early years of its existence.  Charles De Gaulle once said that a nation has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.  Iran is a Persian, not an Arab state, so in theory Iran and Israel ought to have a lot of common interests.   


This is just another round of the Middle East Peace Process where Israel pretends to make progress with the Palestinians in exchange for the United States overthrowing a neighboring government hostile to the Jewish state.  Then, when the war is over, Israel will find another excuse not to settle.  It has been going on for sixty years.  Military superiority, being the sole military superpower in the Middle East, having a nuclear arsenal, have not brought peace and security to Israel.  Only a mutually agreed political accommodation will do that. But the bottom line is that wiping Israel off the map is not the same thing as wiping Israelis off the map.


The reason for this crisis is the same as the reason for 9/11, stolen elections.  Netanyahu lost the election to Lippi, but the Boys Club of Israel decided to make Bibi Prime Minister anyway.  [Q: Do you know why Israeli men ejaculate so quickly?  A: They can’t wait to tell their friends.]


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            Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf